Shirat HaLev~ Sacred Music Ensemble
The "Shirat HaLev" ensemble has been creating musical alchemy for Shabbat services since February of 2000. The approach has been to help Jewish prayer come to life by couching it in a musical tapestry which carries one aloft through the traditional prayer forms. The CD “Shirat HaLev” is currently available for purchase (and you can listen too!)
Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks- Director- piano, harmonium, voice
Inspired by Martin Buber’s writing while procrastinating from piano practice at High School Jazz camp, Brian Yosef began a quest for finding the inner truths of Judaism, beyond dogmas and tradition. Finding that truth ironically led him back to tradition. Brian Yosef currently teaches meditation and Jewish spirituality at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, where he serves as Sacred Music and Ritual Director. He holds a Bachelor in Music from Eastman and received s’mikha (ordination) as Minister of Sacred Music from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi and Jewish Meditation Teacher from Chochmat HaLev. His band, Captain Zohar, plays original Jewish devotional and concert music. He lives in Oakland with wife Lisa and two children, to whom he owes constant gratitude for keeping him far from cheap, egocentric substitutes for G-d.
Doug Chermak- percussion, bass
In the “real” world, Doug practice environmental law, focusing on water quality, with Lozeau Drury LLP in Oakland. He also coordinates meditation and mindfulness programs for legal professionals as an Associate Director of the Institute for Mindfulness Studies, directing its Mindfulness in Law Program.
Sam Markewich- drums
Sam Markewich has played drums for 30 years, mostly focusing on various kinds of progressive fusions of groove-oriented and odd-metered Western, Eastern, Afro-Cuban, Samba, and West African musics (and Led Zeppelin!). He considers his highest calling as a musician to be asking music what it needs him to do for it, and doing his best to do it for the sake of transcendence of the explicable. In addition to drumming, Sam is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, and a Fitness Trainer and Sustainable Sports Nutritionist. Sam offers free training to anyone who is willing to live by certain sustainable life style choices. In addition to hearing Sam's drumming at Chochmat Halev and in Captain Zohar, listen to a new improvised Jam of the Week by Sam's fusion trio Sizemo (astounding improvisations over eclectic grooves).
Josh Miele- bass
By day Josh Miele is a scientist who develops accessible information technologies for the blind, but for Shabaat he sheds the lab coat, grabs his electric bass, and dons a kipa to rock the house at Chochmat Halev. He is also the bass player for the acclaimed Jewish avant rock ensemble, Captain Zohar. Josh's elite musical pedigree is extraordinary, but is shrouded in kabalistic mystery and cannot be discussed openly. His style is renowned for its funk roots, art rock sensibility, and raw danceability. It has been said that his music has the power to make even stone tablets get up and shake their stuff. Josh lives in Berkeley with his beautiful wife and two delightful children.
Eliyahu Sills- bass, flutes
Eliyahu Sills has been studying and performing music for over 20 years on many instruments, including upright bass, bansuri (the bamboo flute of India), and Turkish and Arabic ney (the reed flute of the middle east). In the early 1990s, he studied the upright bass at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Deeply influenced by teachers Makanda Ken McIntyre, Arnie Lawrence and Reggie Workman (bassist who played with John Coltrane and Art Blakey), Eliyahu began performing as a sideman and bandleader in renowned jazz clubs such as The Village Gate and Small's. After leaving NYC, he began his studies of North Indian music on the Bansuri under the great master G.S. Sachdev, and began performing Middle Eastern music on the ney, which he studied in Instanbul with masters Neyzen Omer Erdogdular and Neyzen Ahmet Kaya, and in Morocco with Akdii Abdesalaam. He currently performs with many musicians in the SF area and throughout the country, and leads his nationally touring band, The Qadim Ensemble whose CD, "Eartern Wind", recently hit #7 on BillBoard's world music charts.
Bruce Silverman, Ph. D. (Hon) MA- percussion
Bruce Silverman is a drummer, world percussionist, and music educator: schooled in numerous musical forms. He has studied African, Afro-Brazilian, Cuban and Haitian drumming and spirituality, as well as North Indian music, orchestral, jazz, and rock drumming. Bruce founded and continues direct the Sons and Daughters of Orpheus : a drumming and healing community offering weekly groups and seasonal rituals to the Bay Area. The Orpheus community explores Afro-Brazilian “bateria” music, hand drumming and world spirituality. Bruce also plays dumbek, tar, and other North African and middle eastern instruments and is on the faculty of Chochmat Halev where he has taught the art of drumming and accompaniment. Over the years he has specialized in playing and leading music in various healing contexts: liturgical music, sound healing, and mythic work with Robert Bly, Coleman Barks, Caroline Casey and numerous others in the world of social artistry.
Lior Tsarfaty- guitar, voice
Lior Tsarfaty is a professional musician and a graduate of both the Voice, Sound and Music Healing program of the California institute of Integral studies and the Vox Mundi School of Voice and Transformation. He is also a student at The Hakomi Institute of California - a body and mindfulness oriented psychotherapy. After he came from Israel to the Bay Area he started gathering prayers and chants and founded the "Prayer Songs Project", a project that brings together prayers and sacred music from different cultures and countries into a concert of art and community. Lior's passion is to intertwine music and personal transformations, he works with individuals and groups. For more information: Pepolior@gmail.com, 510-704-8232
Jeannette Ferber- voice, piano
Jeannette feels blessed to be able to share her voice at Chochmat HaLev. In 2008, her journey of renewed connection to Judaism and yearning for song led her to the Chochmat choir and later to the bimah.
Originally from Ohio, she grew up performing in numerous school musicals and choral groups and took private voice lessons. However, after high school, singing fell into the distant background of her life for over a decade until its heartfelt reemergence at CHL. She can also be heard singing sacred music with the vocal ensemble, Ya Elah.
Jeannette has a Masters degree in Public Health and works as a data analyst studying a range of reproductive health issues, from depression during pregnancy to Bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure. She lives with her husband, Cory, in Berkeley.
Bon Singer- voice
Bon Singer has been singing at Chochmat HaLev since before we had a home on 8th Street. She was originally asked to be part of the musical leadership by Rabbi Avram Davis. She says, "Weirdly enough, I think he asked me because he is a Bulgarian music-phile, and that is my area of musical expertise. That is why sometimes I will sing in that voice quality and harmonic style."
Bon is probably best known for her work with the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble, Kitka. She served as Artistic Director, composer, arranger, and a singer for 14 years, and is recognized as one of the foremost directors of Bulgarian choral music in America. Bon's musical experience ranges from performance in remote eastern European villages to performing with Olympia Dukakis. She has directed a number of ensembles, including most recently, Chochmat's Tikkun Olam Chorus.
Bon feels that Chochmat is her spiritual home and she is happy to be back singing on our Bimah. She has led singing in several other places, but has not "remotely felt as completely connected spiritually as I do at Chochmat. I am always so grateful that there has always been a place for me."
Yari Mander - Percussion
Yari has been drumming in the Chochmat Halev band for 10 years. He is the founder and lead teacher of Heart of Rhythm,a drumming school for adults. He is also a credentialed music teacher, teaching music currently to grades K-5 in the Oakland Unified School District. Visit his web site at yarimander.com
Return to the Chochmat HaLev About page