The Max Helfman Institute for New Jewish Music

Photo of Max Helfman

The Institute was envisioned by Cantor Phil Baron of Valley Beth Shalom, formerly a songwriter for Disney Studios. A group of experienced and gifted Jewish songwriters and composers who are now actively engaged in the creation of new music but who are not writing Jewish music, will be invited to a two-day retreat at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of the American Jewish University. With an exciting faculty including Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Dr. Ronald Wolfson and Dr. Michael Isaacson, they will be introduced to the texts and literature with which they can enrich the palette of their writing and be able to contribute to the liturgy of today's synagogue experience.

The retreat will be held on April 12th and 13th, 2010. Over the ensuing months, they will meet periodically with selected faculty, individually and as a group, and during Shabbat Shira of 2011, a concert will be presented featuring the music emanating from this experience. It is our hope to make this an annual program.

The Institute was aided by a substantial grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles is the largest manager of charitable assets and the leader in planned giving solutions for Greater Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists. The Foundation currently manages assets of $706 million (as of 12/31/09) and ranks among the 12 largest Los Angeles foundations. In 2009, The Foundation and its more than 1,000 donors distributed $62 million in grants to hundreds of organizations with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. For more information, please visit