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.
Shira Kline is an internationally acclaimed, award winning performance and ritual 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. Shira works with national organizations across the denominational spectrum facilitating professional development seminars on creative worship and music education for clergy, educators, seminary students and lay leaders. She is on the faculty of Hava Nashira and 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, New Zealand and most recently South Africa. Her award winning Jewish kiddie rock albums along with her parent resource center “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. 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 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) In front of the chuppah at a Chasidish wedding or onstage in a bar on the Lower East Side, Jeremy Brown has been a string player since the day he picked up a cigar box with a ruler attached in his first Suzuki class. Jeremy plays violin with “Golem”, whose 2015 release “Tanz” is available on the Mexico City based label Discos Corazon. He also plays violin and viola with “Pitom” who have released two albums on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records and will be releasing new recordings this fall on Chant Records.
Hadar Noiberg (FLUTES), a flutist and composer, leads a NY based trio and is a ASCAP award winner. She has had a tremendous success at various festivals and performances globally. “From the Ground Up” is Hadar’s second CD as a band leader and is featuring her trio- drummer Allison Miller, bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and guests clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Yotam Silberstein. Hadar fuses styles seamlessly between jazz and world music, and is distinguishing herself as both innovative and highly skilled in the jazz and world music scenes nationally and internationally.
Hadar’s trio is a ‘Power Trio’- tight and full of groove and passion. The daring and unique instrumentation of flute, double bass and drums allows sliding in and out of Jazz improvisation and Western harmonies with Middle Eastern and North African rhythms and semitones. The music of the new CD is fresh, spunky and boundary pushing- blending simple ‘folky’ melodies with intense development, soloing and communication. Being a jazz musician with a vast Classical background and experience in playing Cuban, Brazilian and Middle Eastern styles, Hadar brings all that to the table while also using effects and loops, both in her compositions and improvisation creating her own distinctive voice. “From The Ground Up” will be released this November under US/European label Dot Time Records with a comprehensive marketing and publicity effort in both the US and Europe.
Jacqueline Nicholls is a London based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. Her ongoing drawing project, Draw Yomi, Jacqueline is drawing the Talmud, following the daf yomi schedule. She coordinates Arts & Culture events at JW3 London, and regularly teaches at the London School of Jewish Studies. Jacqueline’s art has been exhibited in solo shows and significant contemporary Jewish Art group shows in the UK, USA and Israel, and she was recently artist-in-residence in Venice with Beit Venezia. Jacqueline is a regular contributor to BBC R2 Pause for Thought.
Ezra Bookman (Director) is a director, poet, performance artist, and ritualist, exploring the overlapping space between artistic and transformational spiritual experiences as Lab/Shul’s first Artistic Director. He has created, directed, and produced numerous ritual arts and culture festivals on behalf of Lab/Shul, including ComPassion Plays and NINE: A Night to Remember; co-lead the project to retranslate all the Hebrew prayers into modern God-optional poetry; and written, directed, and performed ritual-theater interpretations of Biblical stories as a Storahtelling Maven. Ezra earned his B.F.A in Theater Studies at Southern Methodist University under the guidance of Stan Wojewodski, where he was awarded the prestigious Meadows Scholar Award.
Jon Levin is an international director, performer, curator and puppeteer. He is Co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based Sinking Ship Productions, and a founding member of the Krumple Theatre company based in Oslo, Norway. For more info visit: SinkingShipProductions.com
Jon Adam Ross has performed his solo plays in over 90 cities around the globe. His newest endeavor is the ambitious In[heir]itance Project, a national devised-theater series inspired by sacred texts. Jon has also performed at the Guthrie Theater (MN), Playhouse on the Square (TN), and in NYC where his stage credits include: a dog, a 2,000 year old bird, an elderly orthodox Jew, a spurned housewife, a horse, a British naval officer in 1700’s Jamaica, a goat, Jesus Christ, a lawyer, a hapless police chief, and a cyclops. Jon holds a BFA in Acting from NYU/Tisch and was a founding company member of Storahtelling.
Kate Scelsa is a novelist, playwright, and performer. Her young adult novel “Fans of the Impossible Life” was published by HarperCollins in 2015, and a second YA will be out in 2018. Kate has been a member of Elevator Repair Service Theater since 2002. Upcoming work with the company includes a production of Kate’s play “Everyone’s Fine With Virginia Woolf.” KateScelsa.com