We are an artist-driven community – our worship is led by an eclectic team of performers, musicians, poets, artists and a bunch of rabbis.
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founding spiritual leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the founding director of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2016.
Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, a “rock star” by the New York Times, a “Judaic Pied Piper” by the Denver Westword, a “maverick spiritual leader” by The Times of Israel and “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the Jewish Week. In 2016 The Forward named him one of the thirty-two “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America. He was a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel (2008-2009), served on the advisory committee of Faith House Manhattan, is a consultant to the Reboot Network, and a member of the URJ Faculty Team.
Amichai is the proud Abba of Alice, Ezra, and Charlotte-Hallel.
Shira Kline is an internationally acclaimed, award winning performing artist recognized as a “revolutionary educator” and named one of the “new re-engineers of Jewish life.” A co-founder of both Storahtelling and Lab/Shul, she is the Director of Worship at Lab/Shul, NYC and works with young families here as the Director of Family Education.
On the road, Shira works with a diverse array of Jewish communities to enliven rituals, holiday celebrations, and love for Jewish life and prayer. The product of a modern rabbi and a modern dancer, she blends words, story and music to create a rich experience for children and adults alike. In addition to performing, Shira works with national organizations across the denominational spectrum facilitating professional development seminars on creative worship as well as early childhood music for clergy, educators, seminary students and lay leaders. She is on the faculty of Hava Nashira as well as adjunct faculty for the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School for Sacred Music. Shira tours extensively performing for families, adults, and teens in the United States, stages in Israel, England, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Her award winning Jewish kiddie rock albums along with her “Blog Sameach” are featured worldwide.
Naomi Less is a Brooklyn-based, internationally celebrated singer/songwriter, ritual worship musician and experiential educator. She tours extensively with her half-Israeli, half-American music ensemble, performing rock shows, acoustic concerts, and soulful worship events. Naomi’s two solo albums reflect a diversity of style and content – ranging from vulnerable liturgical ballads to high-octane, celebratory rock. Naomi founded Jewish Chicks Rock and Jewish Kids Rock band music programs.
Currently Naomi serves as a founding ritual leader, associate director and director of Storahtelling for Lab/Shul, an experimental, everybody friendly, artist-driven community for sacred Jewish gatherings in New York City, reaching the world. She is a proud Storahtelling founding company member and Storahtelling Maven trainer.
Rabbi Kerry Chaplin is the first Rabbinic Fellow of Lab/Shul. At the core of Kerry’s rabbinate is relationship, which inspires her to work towards a world in which truth and empathy shall meet and justice and peace shall kiss (Psalm 85, 11). That work is anchored in intersectional spirituality, in which our greatest socio-political inequities inform our religious identities and practices, help us to become more of who we are, and drive us to shape a more whole world. Through projects like Two Faiths One Prayer, Talmud + Yoga, and Jewishness and Race workshops, Kerry encourages others to bring all of who they are to Torah and Torah to all the pieces of who they are. Kerry was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2015 and received both a B.A. in Religious Studies and an M.A. in Non-Profit Management from Washington University in St. Louis. She’s a community organizer, a yoga teacher, a former rugby player, and lives with her wife Julia, her cats Louie and Izzy, and her dog Charlie (Chaplin).
Netanel Goldberg (VOCALS, GUITAR, PERCUSSION) is a countertenor vocal artist who leads sessions of prayer and healing circles in Israel, Europe, and the United States. In addition to Hebrew and English, Netanel performs in new languages that he makes up live, an improvisational reflection of life through music. He is the musical producer of the Rumi concert, “Come However You Are.” You can listen to his music on his album, “River of Light” prayers from the soul.
Netanel lives in Israel with his wife Anva. He grew up in a home that resounded with classical and liturgical music. Music pervaded his home and seeped into his body and soul.
Jeremy Brown (VIOLIN) grew up playing classical violin, and discovered improvising and folk music during college in Berkeley, California. In 2001, Jeremy released an album of original music, titled “This Year in St. Louis”. The album was well-received, and led to performances around the Midwest by Jeremy’s klezmer-swing-grass band, “Treif”. In 2004, Jeremy moved to New York and has been an active member of the city’s Jewish music scene. Jeremy is a member of “Pitom”, an experimental ensemble who will be releasing their second album on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records later this year.
Jeremy has appeared on klezmer recordings with “Art Bailey’s Orkestra Popilar” and the Sy Kushner Band, as well as appearing as a soloist on albums by Ben Lapidus, Eitan Katz and many others. Jeremy has performed with numerous artists including Frank London, Dudu Fisher, Golem, and Margot Leverett’s Klezmer Mountain Boys. Check out more of his music on Bandcamp.
Marcelo Woloski (PERCUSSION) is a Latin-Grammy winning percussionist, drummer and composer from Buenos Aires based in New York City. His broad array of sounds, versatility, masterful skill, charismatic personality and unique approach to percussion setups and orchestration has made him the to-go person for recording artists, producers and arrangers throughout the globe. While very active in the NY scene, the Berklee College of Music graduated percussionist, is also constantly touring the world with different artists and groups like Snarky Puppy, Banda Magda, Gregorio Uribe BIg Band and the groups of Sofía Ribeiro, and Nicolas Ospina. Performing and recording credits include grammy winning artists such as Ruben Blades, Susana Baca, Marta Gomez, Lalah Hathaway, The Kronos Quartet, and Arturo O´Farril. Marcelo is a Latin Percussion and Garrahand drums endorser, and is currently working on his debut album to be released in 2016.
Katie Down is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and licensed creative arts therapist. She performs with different groups throughout New York including Sephardic music ensemble Sofie Salonika, The Ukuladies, and NewBorn Trio which was recently commissioned to create a live sound score for a Murakami short story to be performed at BAM Next Wave in 2017. As a creative arts therapist, Katie facilitates sound bath meditations throughout the city focusing on the art of deep listening for health and wellbeing. MindfulMusicPsychotherapy.com.
Adam Arian is a professional director and actor with his MFA in directing from UC San Diego. He recently directed the national tour of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Memphis and the premiere production of Clinton: The Musical. He is thrilled to be rejoining Storahtelling after several years away.
Alexis Fishman’s favorite acting credits include Dusty (Helpmann nomination), Shout!, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and Atomic (off-Broadway). Favorite life moment: singing for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. She is the creator and star of Club Gelbe Stern an (almost) one-woman show set in 1933 Berlin, which played successfully at NYMF last summer and returns to NYC this fall. She is also 99.95% through a Masters in International Relations through Deakin University Melbourne.
Michael Bradley Cohen is a Brooklyn-based performance artist, actor, director and stand-up comic. He is a founding member of American Centaur, an all-male classic/experimental theater company. He is a performing artist and Maven with Storahtelling. He has performed in theaters throughout New York City, regionally, and abroad. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. He most recently appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by David Cromer at Williamstown Theatre Festival, where he received the Rita Feldman Artist Grant.
Ezra Bookman is a Miami raised, Dallas trained, New York City based director, poet, and performance artist. He earned his B.F.A from Southern Methodist University, recipient of the prestigious Meadows Scholars award and grant. His work has taken him everywhere from the Amazon in Venezuela to a goat farm outside of Jerusalem. After directing two world premieres for Brooklyn based writer Barbara Cassidy, Ezra is proud to be the first ever Program Associate for Lab/Shul.
Elana Bell‘s debut collection of poetry, Eyes, Stones, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, bringing her complex heritage as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors to consider the difficult question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Elana received a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council to develop a collaborative, multi-disciplinary performance piece based on the poems in this collection. She also curates public art installations, performs regularly with Poets in Unexpected Places, and sings with the a cappella trio Saheli.