Join Us for Shabbat with Ellen Allard


Dear Friends,

One of my favorite lines from The Sound of Music is when Maria says, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window…” Although I do not necessarily believe the theology of this statement, I have often found that the sentiment rings true. Such a case occurred last April. The Sisterhood retreat was happening in just two days and our dear friend Sue Horowitz contacted me from the hospital to say that she had the flu and would not be able to join us and lead music. My primary concern was her well-being, but I was also concerned about the retreat. Despite feeling VERY sick, Sue took it upon herself to find us someone who could lead music for the weekend. Little did I know that she would reach out to her dear friend Ellen Allard. With only two days to prepare and having another concert already planned for Saturday night, Ellen generously agreed to come and lead the women of our Sisterhood for a wonderful weekend of song, celebration and friendship.

I had known of Ellen’s reputation for many, many years. She is a multi-award winning Recording Artist, Composer, Performer, and Educator and she is one of the most popular and influential Jewish musicians and educators on today’s vibrant contemporary Jewish music scene. Over the course of 30 years performing and teaching for young children and their grownups, Ellen has created 14 recordings and 7 songbooks as well as a growing library of over 250 songs that she has penned. Simply put, Ellen is kind of legend in the Jewish world of music as well as in the realm of early childhood secular music. You may already be familiar with her talents because we have incorporated many of her songs into our liturgy including, Be Holy Hear the Whisper, We Sing Shabbat, We Sing Shalom and Standing At the Sea. One of them of the most exciting parts of the Sisterhood retreat turned out to be when she helped many of the women become songwriters!

I confess that when I first talked with Ellen in order to prepare for the retreat, I was a bit nervous! What I discovered however, is that she is a funny, down-to-earth, talented, wonderful person. I feel fortunate that although we dearly missed our friend Sue at the retreat, I now had a new friend and partner. It was during that weekend that we first hatched the plan to bring Ellen to Congregation Shalom. Ellen will be our special musical guest on Friday November 15th.  She will be leading two different services. The first will be a Tot Shabbat service at 6:00.  Ellen has led countless Tot Shabbats over a period of more than 21 years and I cannot recommend enough that you join us for this service. Even if your kids are older than a typical Tot Shabbat, I think you and your family will have a wonderful time.

Then at 7:15 Ellen will lead a service for adults and older kids.  She calls this type of service, “WOW Worship”! As is written on her website, “Ellen Allard has one consistent motive – to use music to infuse a love of Judaism ‘into the bones’ of those who participate in her Wow Worship™ service. In a world where extraordinary sensory influences continually distract children and adults, Ellen has crafted a contemporary full sensory musical “Wow Worship™” service that is innovative, inventive, and dynamic while still paying homage to an ancient framework of Jewish ritual and worship.  Music is the key component of Wow Worship™. Blending familiar and new melodies, Ellen invites everyone present to be fully engaged in the sounds, the movements, and the emotions that Wow Worship™ evokes. With song, laughter, dance, with memories of those who came before and moments of silence, with praises sung to God and blessings offered one to the other, Wow Worship™ instills a love, appreciation and understanding of Judaism into the hearts, minds, and souls of all those assembled.”

I hope you will join us for this amazing Shabbat. Everyone is welcome and feel free to bring friends who you would like to introduce to the Congregation Shalom community.

Warm regards,

Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry