Dear Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira Community,
We hope you are staying safe this winter.
Some of you have seen a lot of social media posts or have been in conversations about Sing Unto God and Hava Nashira, and you might have some questions about your beloved conferences and what it all means.
You know how when you’ve attended Hava Nashira or Shabbat Shira, and there were two great classes at the same time, and you wish you could’ve taken both? Remember those years when you weren’t able to come and wished you had a chance to learn with inspiring teachers and get wonderful repertoire?
The vision of Sing Unto God (SUG) is to be a gathering place for a Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira inspired learning year-round. Through online workshops, networking, and our beloved conferences, we will be able to go deeper and farther into the work of building singing and praying communities.
We want to emphasize that Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira will be the familiar conferences you remember. Really, the only difference from recent years is that they are operationally run by Rosalie and Rose through Sing Unto God, rather than through the URJ, who affirmed their support through an exclusive sponsorship.
Being a home base, a hub, for all those who care about communal singing, and a space that is co-created by all of us is central to who, and what, we strive for through Sing Unto God. It also means that it is built by you, too. We’ve asked before and will keep asking: what are your ideas about content you’d like to see? Sing Unto God is a choir, not a solo performance.
As we start out, here are our intentions:
Sing Unto God is an educational, informational, and inspirational hub spotlighting and curating communal music learning and worship conversations from our peers, colleagues, and collaborating organizations
SUG is a space for networking and place to stay connected with teachers from our conferences and programs
SUG offers year-round access to great teachers and leaders, including those who aren’t able to teach at Hava Nashira or Shabbat Shira
SUG builds support, structure, and ongoing engagement channels for emerging leaders and teen songleaders who want learning and mentorship as they seek new ways to explore their Jewish and musical path
SUG is committed to find ways to keep members, participants, and attendees engaged with Jewish communal life in ways that are appropriate for them, either with our organization or wherever they may fit
The flagship programs of SUG are Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira, held in person at OSRUI (May 22nd-25th, 2022 and December 1st-4th, 2022, respectively)
Sing Unto God kicks off our workshop learning with the wonderful Eliana Light who got rave reviews as a Hava Nashira teacher! She can’t be with us at Hava Nashira this year (she has the opportunity to be with the Foundation for Jewish Camp Cornerstone’s event at the same time), but is sharing her gifts with Getting at the Core: Prayer for Kids and Families on February 27th at 3:30pm Eastern. And, don’t miss four more workshops this Spring from both longtime Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira folks as well as some brilliant new voices.
We also are delighted to share Cantor Ellen Dreskin's Spring Course Catalog. Many of you have studied with her before, and this is a great opportunity to learn online—especially if you’ve missed some of her sessions or know others who would benefit from her teaching.
We know that there has been some curiosity and confusion about what it means to become a member of Sing Unto God, either as an individual or as an organization. Simply, we believe that the spirit of Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira is an antidote for so much of what ails our community and the world and should be available for anyone who wants or needs it. A nominal membership fee—more than made up for by a growing list of benefits—is one way to show commitment to being a part of what we can build together.
Sing Unto God, the organization, cannot replace the nourishment and fulfillment of singing together, of praying and learning and laughing together. It does allow us to go deeper and farther into the work by continuing to build singing communities. It also means that so many who have wanted to learn from all of our collective wisdom can do so regardless of whether or not we can attend a given conference in a given year.
Thank you for everything we’ve done together so far and what we will continue to do in the months and years to come. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out to us.
See you soon,
Rosalie and Rose