Blue Bell synagogue Tiferet Bet Israel hopes to draw in the under-5 demographic with a weekend program featuring singer-songwriter Ellen Allard.
The scholar/artist-in-residence has been a staple of area synagogue life for quite some time, creating culturally and spiritually enlightening events with authors, poets, visual artists and musicians. This win-win concept results in increased visibility for both the artist and the synagogue, not to mention a bump in attendance at synagogue events during the artist’s residency.
At least, that is what Tiferet Bet Israel hopes will happen with their upcoming “children’s scholar-in-residence” program. Specifically, the Blue Bell synagogue is hoping to draw in the coveted under-5 demographic with a weekend of the singer/songwriter, Ellen Allard, on April 4 and 5.
Allard, who received her master’s degree in early childhood education from Arcadia University, is an award-winning recording artist who has been creating and performing Jewishly themed children’s songs for over 30 years. Among her 10 CDs and hundreds of songs are niche hits like “The Pet Song” and “Building a Better World.”
Allard’s appearance at TBI is meant to help get the word out about its newly expanded early childhood education program, which will now include infants and toddlers, and will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For TBI cantor Elizabeth Shammash, bringing in Allard to help highlight TBI’s changes to its Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Early Childhood Education Community by leading events like a music-themed workshop on April 4 and an interactively age-appropriate Shabbat service on April 5 was a no-brainer. “When she sings with young children, she knows exactly how to engage and hold their attention,” Shamash said, “sometimes goofy, sometimes serious, but always meaningful.”
For her part, the Worcester, Mass.-based Allard sounded equally enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to the effort to reach more Jewish preschoolers. “I feel a deep commitment to writing songs that children love to sing,” she said, emphasizing the importance of “songs that will be shared by this generation and the generations to come, songs that will help children and families celebrate and love Judaism. There’s something about singing that makes all the difference in helping you remember things. And if there’s one thing about being Jewish, it’s the importance of remembering who we are, where we came from, and on whose shoulders we stand. My hope is that these songs will be a gift to our children, a gift that will inspire them to pass on their love of Judaism to future generations.”
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