Monday, December 21, 2009

Little Jewish Chicks rock!!

The youngest Jewish Chick Rocker to date, posted on the site.

Girl M (named protected) led her class in "Shabbat Sing" the other day - in front of the entire preschool! Girl M (whose mother shared that she chooses all of her own outfits) came out ready for school with a long sleved shirt and the JCR tanktop on. She told her mother, "I am going to lead singing today like my friend Naomi Less, so I have to wear my chicks rock tanktop like she does."

Way to go, Girl M!
Keep on Rockin...

A little sample for you...



video

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lights Ignited - hopefully towards Change!

This past sunday, in a minivan loaded with instruments, musicians and Trader Joe snacks, Sarah Aroeste (the Ladino songstress) and I headed down to Philly to meet up with our Roots Rocker friend Chana Rothman to perform in our self-produced show: "Lights Ignite Change".


This event was all about three things:
1. bringing the community together around Hanukkah to celebrate with music
2. showcasing FEMALE talent
3. most importantly, that this female talent is committed to social justice and social change.

We invited many organization in the philly are to sponsor by promoting the event and promoting their programming - anything from the "Collaborative" which programs events for 20-30s, to the Jewish Farm School to the Philadelphia Moishe House special thanks to Rebeccah Karp) to a Dialogue Group focusing on peace initiatives through dialogue.

But we, as women and as activists, wanted to also, in this dark month of December, shed some LIGHT on a very very important issue in the Philly community, the Jewish community and the whole country. DOMESTIC ABUSE AND VIOLENCE.

Jessica Schaffer from the Jewish Family and Childrens Services in Philly came and spoke to the sold out crowd about this issue - that 1 in 4 (that's right, ONE IN FOUR) women in their lifetime will experience some sort of abuse or violence in their relationships. Often women lack resources to get help or even to leave - and JFCS is working hard through programming, hotlines and even CASH support to help women regain control of their lives.

We were just thrilled that everyone took information with them about this issue so that maybe they can help someone they know (or themselves) regain control of their lives.

The CONCERT itself was an amazing program of music that relates to Hanukkah and Judaism and social change - Chana, Sarah and I all sang with each other on our material - harmonies were flowing. An example here is Chana and Sarah singing Elohai Neshama here!!!!!!!

Thanks, Philly, for a great night.
Thanks to our sponsors, including the Philadelphia Federation Renaissance Group for the support.
And if you'd like a community event like this, please do contact me.
We were thrilled to create this for Philly and would love to do the same for your community!
naomiless@gmail.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jewish Chicks Rock: Along for the ride...

Jewish Chicks Rock: Along for the ride...

Along for the ride...

A few weeks ago, Limmud NY asked me to write up my thoughts on one of the Torah Portions, Parashat Lech Lecha.
Here are my thoughts - it's called: "Along for the Ride..."

Parashat Lech Lecha is famous – particularly famous because this is the transitional moment when Abram (soon to be renamed Abraham) becomes a Jew. He’s directed to leave all that’s familiar, to the house where he was born, from his father’s house, and to go to a land that God is going to show him. Take a risk, go forth – journey forward with your life.

But who else is affected by this leap Abram takes? When one person grows, sets off on a journey, it affects their family members as well – and as is often the case, we don’t hear from those voices in the Torah in these moments. It’s time to put ourselves in the shoes not of just the hero on the hero’s journey, but of those who end up on that journey with him, for better or worse. How are those "along for the ride" cared for or considered in his pursuits?

Abram, our hero, enters this journey with his wife by his side. Sarai (she’s not yet renamed Sarah) goes through an intense journey herself, and some may say sacrifice for the sake of the (or his) larger vision.

The scene opens in Chapter 12 verse 10-20, we hear the story of Abram and Sarai heading down to Egypt. Yep, there was a famine in the land and three generations before his great grandson Joseph, Abram goes down to Egypt. Try, just try and imagine this scene: Abram, Sarai (and all the family flock who are with them) are about to enter Egypt when Abram turns to Sarai and reminds her of how gorgeous she is…

What must Sarai have been thinking at that moment – I know what I would think: “uh-oh, what does he want from me!” Abram continues on to say (Verse 12): “If the Egyptians see you, and think, 'She is his wife,' they will kill me and let you live.” Verse 13 says: “Please say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you."

Imagine you are Sarai - Say I’m your sister?? Really? How will that help your situation? Would they kill you and take me away? What is going to happen to me? What are you saying? What is this place that we’re entering – such narrowness? Yes Mitzrayim – the narrow place. Do I have a choice here?

Does she?

Well, apparently, she obeyed in the end. She took one for the team, so to speak, for when they entered Egypt, everyone saw Sarai’s beauty, the Egyptians, Pharaoh’s courtiers, and they just up and took her to Pharaoh’s palace. Was there a goodbye? Was she freaking out? Imagine – you are being taken away from your husband and traveling family to a strange palace, with people who don’t speak your language, most likely – and will you ever see your husband again?

And back to Abram, in exchange for giving up his “sister”, he scored quite a boon – sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels – oh and slaves.

Abram – seems he got a pretty price for his wife, I mean, sister.

What happened to Sarai? How was that first night in Pharaoh’s palace, torn away from her husband in a strange land with a different language and customs? We don’t known.

The text doesn’t voice this herstory.

Now, lest you think Sarai was left to a fate of a “kept woman” in a palace, Pharaoh (in the Genesis Apochryphon) wasn’t able to have sexual relations with Sarai for TWO years. (This is built off of the Torah text in verse 17 that says Pharaoh had a ton of severe plagues.) But wait, she was “kept” for two years?

Well, ultimately, Pharaoh does let Sarai return to her husband when he finds out that she’s really Abram’s wife (and has a bunch of plagues because of this.)

What agency did Sarai have for herself if any? What was her experience through all of this? The text tells us that Abram asked her to sacrifice herself – he said please will you do this for my sake. And she apparently does. So should Abram not have gone on the journey? Should he not have gone to Egypt? Is there any blame or fault to be placed in this narrative? Could any of this been avoided? Abram went on a journey, but that journey impacted others – and so when we go on our own journeys, it’s important to take risks and follow our dreams and paths and callings, but also to make sure that we take care that the people who are impacted by our actions are cared for as much as we can care for them in that process. Let us not be reckless in our pursuits of greatness, innovation, change…When you leap, who do you take with you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boca brings it...

Wow, what a gig.
Now, I know that I play out a lot and meet a lot of people, but I have to share this experience I had last night at Congregation Bnai Israel in Boca Raton.

As part of the Mark S. Bertuch Make-A-Difference Program, we played a concert and were asked to share some experiences about risk, resilience and Jewish values. This program addresses self-esteem issues, addiction and substance abuse, sexuality, teen dating abuse, just to name a few things.

(Thanks so much to Marilyn Asofsky and Cantor Stephanie Shore and to Susan Shane-Linder for the pics, powerpoint and powerful advocacy!)

As many of you know, these topics and helping teens to build life-skills that enable them to make positive choices in their lives is EXTREMELY important to me. I spent some time in between songs sharing some stories, some challenges I've had, or that I've seen and asked what the risks are to standing up against negative forces. The teens in this community blew me away - with their openness, their understanding, their respect for one another, the way they listened to each other. I learned as much if not more than I taught.

What a gift.

Rock on, Boca...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jewish Chick Rock Fall update

Isn't Fall flying by? SO much has happened.

1. I got married - to my amazing co-writer/producer and drummer, Glenn Grossman.
It was a 70s disco wedding!


Other Jewish rockers helped out with the honors, including

2. It seems that every time I turn a corner, there's another Jewish band with WOMEN in it - which is AMAZING! Tons of Jewish girl bands popping up in NY.
Check out the Shondes and Girls in Trouble. And as always, my faves, Chana Rothman and Sarah Aroeste.

Are there any in YOUR community? We're starting a movement, women! Get out there and express yourself!

3. And speaking of: I am in need of another female guitarist - so if you know any rockin' women who can shred on guitar, please put them in touch with me!

4. CALLING Pre-Teen and Teen Jewish girls in the five boroughs of NYC who want to rock out and learn how to play in a band and write music. We're going to start a Jewish Chick Rock Club this year - so put me in touch with your parents. (jewishchicksrock@gmail.com)


5. Jewish Chicks Rock SOCIAL MEDIA
We're learning all these social media tools, which I'm really psyched about.
We have a twitter name (jchicksrock) so follow us.
Also, feel free to re-tweet this - there's a button on the right hand side!

And as always, if you'd like us to come to YOUR neighborhood, please do get in touch.
Check out the tour schedule below.

Peace, love and chick-rock!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Camp Poyntelle and Lewis Village

I have been traveling and training so much that I haven't had time to reflect and say THANK YOU to the amazing community at Camp Poyntelle and Lewis Village. Earlier in July, I had the opportunity to hang out with some amazing kids and teens who opened their hearts and creative minds to create music with message - to think about creation, about relationships and put out to the world what they'd like to see - in songs!

While I can't (yet) share some video or pictures from that as we need to get permission from parents first, I can share with you some a couple of things:

This first video clip is an activity I did with the pre-teen girls about bullying - and standing against it. We used a song I wrote called Responsibility (check the song out here) and then you'll see what we did.
video

The next clip is of the campers' voices singing with me in a concert Glenn Grossman and I did for them at the end of our time there.

video
We had such a blast writing, recording and rocking with them. I learned so much from each and every camper and staff!

Check out what they wrote about in our songwriting session:
video video

And here's to their outgoing director, Debby Shriber - we wish you a fabulous end of the summer and an awesome and easy transition into your new camp - URJ Crane Lake Camp!

Debby - you rocked it at Camp Poyntelle and Lewis Village and you're going to ROCK IT at Crane Lake! B'hatzlacha! Good luck!


Friday, July 31, 2009

Naomi listed in UK top rec's of Jewish music

Music lover and promoter David Stern (UK) lists me among a few other STELLAR musicians bringing it to the Jewish music scene...

Watch here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

JCR giveaway thru "Cool Jew" Love Day Giveaway - Tu B'av!

JCR is thrilled to be participating in The Cool Jew Love Day Giveaway Celebrating Tu B'Av

Eight cool Jews and I have donated altogether $175 worth of gifts in celebration of "Tu B'Av," a day on the Jewish calendar that is for Jewish sweethearts. In ancient times Tu' B'Av was celebrated by young single women dressing in white and shaking their groove things in vineyards; young men from all 12 tribes would sneak-a-peek, hoping to find their future wives. We've come a long way from that point - haven't we ladies? Today, many Jews will be celebrating love at parties rather than vineyards -- on August 5th.

Want to win? There are two ways to win the
Gift Box:
(1) Enter to win at http://tinyurl.com/lovedaygiveaway by submitting your answer to this question:"What Do You Love About Being Jewish?"

Or

(2) If you are in LA, celebrate at LoveFest 2009, organized by JConnectLA and featuring live performances by Moshav, Rav Shmuel, DJ Eric Rosen and more. One lucky guest will be chosen to win the Cool Jew Love Day Gift Box. Join LoveFest at 8 pm, August 5th, at the Bungalo Club in Los Angeles. For more information, visit jconnectla.com.

(No purchase is required to enter. This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada 18 years old and older.)

Cool Jew Love Day Gift Box contains:

* My Meshuga'at CD, Jewish Chicks Rock
women's tank top and temporary tattoos ($30)
* Ladino chick rocker Sarah Aroeste's Puertas CD ($15)
* Chick Author who ROCKS Lisa Alcalay Klug's book
Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe
($13)
and manyt other amazing gifts!

Friday, July 17, 2009

JCR heads out to LA in November - mark your calendars

I'm very honored to say that this November 5-7, I will head out to LA to serve as the Colker-Klein –Shapiro Artist in residence at Pressman Academy. The head of school, Rabbi Mitch Malkus, is a visionary in terms of building a cohesive community filled with different kinds of learning for all of the institutions that live in that building.

If you live in the LA community, please be in touch - there may be a possibility that they'll open up the Sat night havdallah and concert to a larger community!

Peace and Shabbas...

Naomi

Sunday, July 12, 2009

JCC University (camp) Rocks with JCR!

This past week was VERY full in JCR-land.

All week I've been volunteering for an amazing program called Willie Mae Girls Rock Camp. It's a week-long camp for girls from 7 to 17 or maybe a little older. I served as a band coach and vocal instructor and worked with AMAZING volunteers and incredibly brave girls. The philosophy is that everyone rocks and that anyone can learn to be in a band. check it out: http://www.williemaerockcamp.org/

In the MIDDLE of the week - July 8th - my partner and honorary Jewish rock chick, Glenn Grossman worked with the talented staff at the JCC in Manhattan to produce a day of ROCK for the JCC Uninversity (camp) program.

Videos to come! Stay tuned!
(And to protect the identities of the kids, all faces have smiley faces on them! But trust me, they were smiling - we all were.)

The kids got a chance to:

- Write a song














-
Record their song













- learn to play the drums
AND perform live



Staff joined in the fun!

If you want to book Jewish Chick Rock programming in your community, be sure to contact me - naomiless@gmail.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

the old becomes new and the new becomes sacred

Well...for the last week I've been working with about 120 innovative, caring, socially conscious, passionate Jewish change-makers who are commmitted to making a difference in the world. Beyond being inspired, I laughed, cried (from laughter), made connections, helped others make connections and built a ton of new friendships.

One of the beautiful things about this is that these change-makers are not throwing away history's contributions - they know on whose shoulders they stand and are jumping off those shoulders to reach a higher ground. The saying "the old is renewed, and the new becomes sacred" really sums it up.

And here's a cute example - Tel Aviv, a bassist committed to helping the environment (Anthony Rogers Wright), a guitarist from the UK committed to enabling people to volunteer to fix the world (Dan Berelowitz) and me, a feminist committed to helping young girls and women actualize their full selves - singing an oldie but a goodie with full-community-participation.
Click here for the impromptu band: "CollabaROI"

or just click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwoEOZZBHY4

For more info on ROI or the ROI Summit go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwoEOZZBHY4

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jewish Chicks Rock the ROI Summit

I am inspired.
I am inspired by others' passions.
I am inspired that these passions are for the good of the world AND the good of the Jewish global community.
I am inspired because I am seeing the future.
I am inspired because much of the future I'm seeing comes from visions of Jewish women I'm meeting.
I am inspired because I actually see the future of the Jewish woman in front of my eyes at the ROI Summit here in Tel Aviv.

Bringing together Jewish leaders from all over the world in all different kinds of fields (which over 55% represented are WOMEN) can build an enormous amount of creativity and excitement. But more than that, it can build bridges between people who are doing similar work in various places in the world.

For instance, there's a fantastic Jewish woman who's doing a Girls Rock Camp in Washington DC...we met up and are plotting and planning with national eyes!!!

There are women who are filmmakers, storytellers, culture event creators, band managers, creating visions for the future of Israel, helping to feed the poor in many ways, from every country imaginable.

I am truly inspired by the sheer volume of INCREDIBLE Female Jewish Role Models!

Friday, May 29, 2009

my first radio interview...

Hey everyone...
A great and challenging interview about rock, music, industry double standards, madonna, sex, Jews and the whole kitchen sink!!

Go to:
http://www.legendsradio.net/

Look for archive date May 27, 2009

fast forward to minute: 94:09

Let me know what you think below (post a comment!)

Naomi

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On the Radio tonight

Oddly enough...I was interviewed on a net radio station that is focused on wrestling.
Associate Producer of "The Wrestler" and radio host Evan Ginsburg had me on his show tonight.
If you go to the link here, "The Real Me" - my rock tune about really being yourself - the real you - is playing on the site. Click Here!

The archive of the show should be available in a couple of days.
Highlights:
- ageism in the music industry
- double standards of female image in the music industry versus male
- anti-semitism and zenophobia
- a bit about my mission

It was super fun to speak with someone with such a fabulous knowledge of music and the world.

Please do check out his weekly show (every wednesday.)

Here's the link again: Legends Radio

If you want to listen to the full version of The Real Me, you can visit my website!
Lemme know what you think!
Peace...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

LA Gig - Room 5 Lounge benefitting Beit T'shuvah

What an AMAZING night...in a cozy lounge on La Brea in LA - people gathered young and old - male and female and folks in between to celebrate women in music!!!

I looked out in the crowd, who'd come to see three different groups of women, styles, shapes, voices, etc, the room celebrating, supporting and singing along with laughter, moments of intimacy and spirit!


Janeen Rae Heller kicked it off with her saw (literally) and her beautiful melodies, followed by Laura Bagish and then Rebekah Mirsky - letting her "cantorial" hair down and seeing her other side! The two paired up for a moving duet of a nightime Shma that made me cry!

And I ended the evening with a set, reuniting with my dear friend who moved from NYC to LA this year, Elana Artchizel (pictured below) who both gave us a sweet beat and mc'd the event!





An added highlight is that my uncle (who was in from chicago) surprised me coming out to see the show with my cousin greg...amazing!

Props to JT Productions for booking the night, and to my amazing designer (for the flier) as well as to our partners at Birthright Next and of course the beneficiary of the proceeds, Beit T'shuvah

Friday, March 27, 2009

Limmud NY Spring Sampler - March 2009

What an amazing night at Limmud NY's Spring Sampler.
There was love and care in the air - with an excitement towards learning.

Here's a short little clip from my performance there...listen to everyone's beautiful voices as they sing about their power to help other people!

This is called "What You Give"
Guitarist featured: Mikal Evans
Filming by JCR Street Team Founder - Mara Berde


video

If you can't see it, you can also go to the You Tube Channel:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Limmud NY - I learned a lot...

Brrrrr.....
It's cold up in Ellensville, NY - home of Limmud NY. The heat went out. The conference was almost cancelled...

But the warmth of amazing Jews wanting to be together, to celebrate diversity and to educate themselves and others in the Tradition made for a very special environment.

This was a big gig for me.
1. It was my first Limmud and I'm hooked.
2. I performed a rock show with my band on the heels of a performance by one of my favorite musicians and people in the world, Josh Nelson.
3. I explored a couple of new workshops - one of which was a songwriting workshop for girls.

Here's what I learned at Limmud:
- attitude is everything
- the small voice is often the most powerful
- just when you think you can't play cause your fingers are frozen, you connect with someone in the audience and it warms your whole body so you can play on.
- people want to see more chicks playing instruments on stage.

Thanks, Limmud community, for enabling me to learn!

Naomi