In 1996 Lisa traveled to Havana a performed a concert for the Cuban Jewish Community with a B’nai B’rith International Humanitarian Mission. The response to her music was so powerful and positive, that she decided to record a CD of the songs she performed there, including some traditional favorites in her Cantorial repertoire. The style is mainly folk, guitar and percussion with flute, violin and piano. If you love traditional folk songs, you’ll love this album. There are also gems of the Cantorial repertoire and if you love traditional Jewish music, you'll love these songs. Of special note are the Yiddish folk songs, which when sung in Havana brought forth a great deal of emotion among those in attendance. The Jewish Community of Havana is made up of many families who settled there from Poland escaping from the Nazi Holocaust. These songs are melancholy and reminiscent of the old country. They tell the stories of the Jewish people who have lived and thrived in many lands around the world. All proceeds from the sale of this CD goes to the B’nai B’rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project.
Cantor Lisa Levine was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, where she began singing and playing the guitar at the age of 8. She was a URJ camp song leader and active in the Reform Jewish youth movement. After earning her Bachelors Degree in Music from University California Irvine, she went on to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, where she completed her Masters Degree in Sacred Music. She was invested Cantor in 1989 and served as Cantor / Music Director of Temple Shalom in Dallas, TX until 1996.
From 1996 until July 2000, Lisa served as the Cantor / Music Director of Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Des Moines, Iowa. She was a co-founder and guest conductor of the "Des Moines Diversity Chorus," an interfaith community choir dedicated to promoting diversity and understanding. Her solo CD "Gems of the High Holy Days" was recorded live for Iowa Public Radio at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Des Moines. From 2000 to 2003 Lisa served as Cantor of Temple B'nai Jehudah in Kansas City.
Lisa has recorded two CD's of original music entitled "Keep The Spirit" and "In The Light" with duo group "Lisa & Lynn." In 2004 she published her self titled songbook which contains 22 original songs for healing, prayer and unity. Her original musical compositions are part of the Transcontinental Music Publications Choral Series and appear in "The Complete Shireinu", "The Complete Chanukah Songbook," Synagogue 2000's "Songs of Healing" the CCAR's "Open Door Haggadah," "American Conference of Cantors Lifecycle Manual," Soundwrites' "Sounds of Torah" as well as "Complete Jewish Songbook II", "Shabbat Anthology II", "Shabbat Anthology IV", "Manginot II" and "Torah Alive!" and "Klei Zemer". Lisa's songs were featured and performed at the URJ Biennial in Boston, Minneapolis, Houston and San Diego. Several of her poems were published in the new Women's Torah Commentary.
Lisa's solo album of original songs entitled "Reaching For Peace" was released in 2005. Her Friday Evening Service "Soulful Shabbat," written for interfaith and outreach was published in summer 2006. The collection is unique because of it's range of accessable musical styles written for youth, teen and adult choirs and band.
Lisa's latest project is entitled "Mis Canciones Para Los Judios De Cuba" My Songs for the Jews of Cuba. It features favorite Ladino, Yiddish, Hebrew and Cantorial gems that Lisa performed in her two concerts in Havana in 2006 and 2007. All of the proceeds from the CD go directly to the B'nai Brith Cuban Jewish Relief Fund.
Lisa's concert of original music entitled "The Jewish Gospel Experience" has recieved rave reviews at CAJE, in performance with the Heartland Choral and Des Moines Diversity Chorus as well as part of her scholar-in-residence weekends in congregations around the country. The program brings people of all ages, abilities, faiths and backgrounds together through music and fellowship. Her other solos concerts "Jewish Folksongs from Around the World" and "Broadway Bound" continue to be favorites among audiences around the country.
Lisa teaches yoga and is the co-creator and author of "Yoga Shalom" a unique Jewish spiritual worship experience.It is soon to be published by the URJ Press.
Lisa is Cantor and Music Director of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Lisa shares her life with husband Andy and their two teenage children, Emily & Louis and a very feisty West Highland Terrier named Duncan.