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Julie Silver

Julie SilverJULIE SILVER was raised in Newton, Massachusetts, and started playing music at the age of 8. By the time she was 18, she was leading raucous song sessions throughout the Reform Jewish Movement and playing coffeehouses in and around Boston. She graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was selected by her senior class to deliver the commencement address and sing an original song at graduation in May 1988. It was her first audience of thousands — the first of many.

Without backing from a major label, Ms. Silver has sold more than 100,000 copies of her CDs. Between 1992 and 2000 she released some of the highest selling albums of original Jewish music (Together, From Strength to Strength, Walk With Me and Beyond Tomorrow). Her songs have become so tightly woven into the fabric of American Judaism that they have become “standards” in worship, camp and academic settings.

It’s Chanukah Time, was recorded in 2007 and was the first Jewish holiday CD produced exclusively for the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain. It also was the only Jewish album to ever be recognized on Billboard, peaking at #5 in 2009.

Her 2009 release, Reunion, is a collection of 12 “songs from a faithful heart” that reflect her journey over the last 10 years. Reunion features a mix of new liturgical settings (“Dodi Li,” “R’faeinu,” “Halleluyah (Psalm 150)”) and narrative story-songs with smart, sophisticated lyrics in English (“Monica’s Chair,” “The Barefoot Sisters”). As a bonus, she included a cover of Carole King’s classic “Been To Canaan.”

Most recently, Ms. Silver has focused on traveling the world, mentoring up-and-coming singer-songwriters, participating in social-justice projects and making the Jewish experience more meaningful. “I try to enhance the way people experience Judaism by adding my own take on our sacred texts,” she says. “I also want people who have historically been marginalized to feel included in the Jewish community or in any community and to be encouraged to tell their stories and live their lives openly. Our tradition compels us to express ourselves...our joys, our hopes, our faith and our fears. The only path to healing is through sharing our stories with one another. As a songwriter, I just write and sing what I feel and hope it resonates with people.”

Ms. Silver plays regularly for the World Union of Progressive Judaism (WUPJ); Limmud UK, the largest European Jewish convention held in England; and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) throughout North America. She also performs for the National Council of Jewish Women, American Jewish World Service, and “wherever and whenever I can be of service”, she says.

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