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Rebecca Schwartz: Reviews/Press/Quotes

"Dear Rebecca,
What a sublime joy to hear your Kol Nidre rendition at services this year. The combination of your beautiful, lustrous voice, the mournful cello sounds and the surprise adult choir voices made the service a most unique experience. After your High Holiday cantorial contributions to services we all realize how fortunate Kol Ami is to welcome you to our professional staff. Looking forward to being enthralled at future services."
Jan F. (a congregant) (Oct 10, 2008)
"Five years ago, a woman at my synagogue told me that she gave guitar lessons and started teaching me to play. She became much more than just a teacher since then; one of my mom’s best friends, a mother figure, a mentor and a role model.

It was her guitar music that brought my parents and me downstairs to the Saturday morning minyan. The sound of her guitar brought me, not only to her, but to become part of a community that has truly become my family. It was because of her that I went to Kutz. The friends I made and the knowledge I gained over the three summers I spent at Kutz Camp would never have happened. And I would not be who I am today.

I look around the room, at my self-appointed grandparents, advisors and family friends. Then I look at Rebecca. As much as it makes me sad that she is leaving, she has given me so much. And more than anything I want to thank you, Rebecca, for what you have given me; tools to make a retirement home resident smile, tools to be confident, and an immense network of friends and family. I hope you know how much we all love and treasure your contributions to all of our lives. Thank you. And may you continue to energize the spark in all those around you. And may you never loose your own spark which drives you forward in all your adventures of life."
Maxie Kravitz, as read at Rebecca's farewell luncheon from Old York Road Temple - Beth Am (Jun 14, 2008)
"Earlier in our service our liturgy included the Mi Chamochah-the rejoicing of the Israelites as they crossed through the sea. The prayer is actually a song taken directly from Exodus. It has been put to beautiful music and has become part of our daily worship.

But in the book of Joshua there is nearly an identical story of the crossing of the Jordan River but it is not a song and we do not recite it daily.

And so we learn of the power and majesty of music. It is the melody that enables so many of our prayers to rise to heaven.

Our worship community has been blessed that so many of our prayers have indeed risen to G-d inspired by the sweet inspirational singing – some even of original melodies – of our dear Rebecca.

We extend our fondest wishes to her as she sets forth on new paths. May this Shabbat remind us of all that she has brought to our service, and may we, like Rebecca, always have a song on our lips, a smile on our face, and a melody in our hearts."
Richard Molish, Comments at Close of Service, 11 Sivan 5768 (Jun 14, 2008)
"Notable accomplishment for composer Rebecca Schwartz, who was selected to take part in the first international Jewish music competition hosted by the 14th International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam this weekend. Tiptoe through the tulips and grab a bouquet of 'best honors' while you're at it, Becca."
Michael Elkin - The Jewish Exponent (May 8, 2008)
"Hi Rebecca,
I want to thank you so much for playing at Jonah’s service on Saturday night. You are AMAZING!! Having you there gave the service all of the warmth that we wanted. Everyone raved about you and your beautiful voice. As you know, I was on the fence about whether or not it was necessary to have you there. It was the “icing on the cake” - it made a beautiful evening absolutely perfect!!! Thanks so much for being there."
Alison R. (Mar 10, 2008)
"Hi Rebecca,
I can't stop listening to your new album. You are really connected...WOW!!! I'm even singing D'ror Yikra around the house and I never really sang that before. Only a Matter of Time is simply divine and your Elohai. Everyone loved the Mizmor Shir. Thank you for filling my heart with such inspiration and beauty...it's important for you to know how effective your music is. Everyone is excited to get your cd...keep inspiring us."
David, Kabbalah4All (Jan 27, 2008)
"Dear Ms. Schwartz:
On behalf of the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Volunteers for Israel, I want to thank you so much for coming to entertain our group recently. It was a real pleasure to listen to you - to your singing and your accompaniment and your explanations. You really held the audience in the palm of your hand. It was a most enjoyable evening, and we thank you so much! This was our first meeting of the season, and you certainly got us off to a delightful start!"
Jacob L. Schachter, President (Nov 2, 2007)
"Har Sinai Congregation was blessed to have Rebecca Schwartz share in its first Shabbaton weekend in a long time. The warmth and beauty of the music touched everyone who was present. Our congregants have not stopped talking about her music, her voice and her all over talent. They have already come to me with Rebecca’s CD in hand asking that I incorporate some of her music into our service.

It was a thrill for me to be able to sing and work with someone so gifted. We had a great time shaping the music of the services. The “song sessions” after dinner and lunch on Shabbat were filled with ruach. I heard people singing who I had never heard before. Rebecca’s spirit permeated everything we did this weekend. I was so grateful for her presence!"
Cantor Nancy R. Ginsberg, M.S.W.
"Dear Rebecca,
I could not end this night without writing to tell you how much pleasure you gave (us) at tonight's concert. You were absolutely wonderful in every way; your voice, your music and your personality that fuses it together. You are one charming, talented lady!! So please keep writing and singing for us. Congratulations on a great performance!!"
Natalie Blum (re: Rebecca's benefit concert for AFMDA on 4/8/07) (Apr 10, 2007)
"Rebecca, the music Friday night was wonderful! Thank you so very much for the role you played in making this (event) happen. I want you to know that I am very grateful to have you with us and for the beautiful music that you share with us."
Rabbi William Kuhn, Cong. Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, PA (Apr, 2007)
"The music the temple was using was very hard to read, some from an old hymnal copied many times. At first, I started looking through the pianist’s folder and the plan was to replace old copies with good, clean, easy to read music. It also made it difficult for me to read because I could not read the transliteration. The first song I found that was a match was your “Yigdal.” I also liked how you put your inspiration for the song, the English interpretation and the Hebrew on the music. When I heard “Yigdal” I knew that the singer at the temple would probably like it. Sure enough – she LOVED IT! Then I started listening to all the songs I could find that matched the ones in the folder (primarily Shabbat music) and I kept coming back to your music because it was the most singable and easy to learn. I have found others as well, but I have purchased yours the most. The other lady who sings at the temple specifically e-mailed me back about the “Sim Shalom.” She said it was “awesome!” They are excited about all the new music."
Stephanie James Hoffpauir, NCTM (Mar 13, 2007)
2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards
Winners Announced!

(Rebecca is thrilled to be among the winners for Best Jewish Song.)
"Hi Rebecca,

I have recently been downloading songs from oySongs.com and discovered you. I have downloaded 24 of your songs, mostly from The Light of Shabbat and Ahavah Rabah. You have such a beautiful and inspiring voice and a wonderful talent for writing...simply DIVINE. I facilitate a Kabbalah study group in Maine and I usually sing a lot of the prayers like Y'did Nefesh, Yih'yu L'ratzon and Modim. I'm now learning your tunes so we can have a variety for these age-old songs. I wanted to write you and tell you how inspiring you are and thank you for sharing your gift with the world. With prayer and song I know we can all change it for the better."
David, Kabbalah4All (Aug 27, 2006)
"Relaxing and uplifting, Rebecca's music creates a beautiful atmosphere. I was amazed at how the songs can affect even someone who doesn't celebrate the traditions and transport the listener to another place. Whether you are looking for Hebrew music, or just interested in being moved by songs with real spirit, Rebecca will touch your soul. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!"
S. Valentine
"She's got the music in her: Composer Rebecca Schwartz, who teaches music to kids - she even has her own CD of Hebrew tunes out - has been named a winner in Shalshelet's first 'Festival of New Liturgical Music' for her tuneful interpretation of 'Yedid Nefesh.' Schwartz will perform the new work next month, along with 15 other festive winners at a concert in Chevy Chase, MD."
Michael Elkin - The Jewish Exponent (Oct 28, 2004)
Shalshelet Festival Announcement
"I am finally listening to your beautiful CD ("The Light of Shabbat"). It's perfect. I love the Or Chadash - to me it's the crowning jewel of your collection. Your breathing alone is something to learn from - but your control, your range is just exquisite. I love the Yism'chu. Your range really shines on that one. Guitar playing is strong, and I was convinced you had a hired guy in there, but it's YOU! Awesome! I like the vocal arrangements, the counter melodies and harmonies you employ - the whole production is perfect. I love your Sim Shalom. Simple, emotional, easy to learn, but still wholly original and interesting. Mazal tov, and best of luck with this gorgeous album. It's in my "heavy Shabbat rotation" here in LA."
Julie Silver, noted Jewish singer/songwriter (Mar 31, 2004)
"Your work ("The Light of Shabbat") is really lovely! It is seldom that someone has the whole package...great songs, memorable melodies, super production and class! I lead a lot of services and know that I will be integrating many of your songs into our services."
Craig Taubman, noted Jewish singer/songwriter (Dec 3, 2003)
"When she leads us in song, her music brightens our worship and draws us together into a deeply spiritual community."
Rabbi Phil Cohen (Oct, 2003)
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