New York Leaders

Vocalist and scholar, Dr. Galeet Dardashti, is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship and she has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative performers of Jewish music today.  She received a Six Points Fellowship to pursue her multi-disciplinary project and 2010 nationally acclaimed release, The Naming, which interprets some of the compelling women of the Bible. Time Out New York called The Naming  “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic,” and The Huffington Post described it as “heart-stopping.”  In her most recent commissioned multi-sensory piece, Monajat, Dardashti reinvents the reflective musical ritual of Selihot using digital technology to sing with recordings of her famed Iranian grandfather. She is also the leader of the renowned all-female power-house Mizrahi ensemble Divahn and has significant cantorial experience.  As a scholar, she holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, specializing in cultural politics and contemporary Middle Eastern/Arab music in Israel.  She offers residencies, lectures, courses, and interactive workshops on her artistic and academic work throughout the US and abroad and is currently a Visiting Scholar at NYU's Taub Center for Israel Studies. Contact.

Jessie Reagen Mann
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A Chicagoland native, cellist Jessie Reagen Mann is based in New York City and involved with a variety of musical projects. Most recently Jessie co-composed WAVES with colleagues Daphna Mor (recorders) and Pete List (beatbox and shahi baaja) for Carolyn Dorfman Dance. A lover of chamber music, Jessie a member of the Om Shalom Trio. This eclectic ensemble blends Jewish melodies and Indian Ragas in an innovative way. She serves as a musician-in-residence at B’nai Jeshurun, where she collaborates with Rabbis Marcelo Bronstein and Rachel Cowen on a monthly Friday-night mindfulness service. Jessie is also on faculty at  Brandeis University’s BIMA summer institute, where she has led Piyut intensives for music majors in the program. Contact.


Born in Buenos Aires Argentina, and educated in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Canada, Jerusalem and New York City, Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon came to B’nai Jeshurun in 1986 to share the pulpit—and vision—of his mentor and friend Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. They worked together to revitalize the congregation and turn its focus to education, interfaith cooperation, and social justice. After Rabbi Meyer’s death in 1993, Rabbi Matalon became BJ’s spiritual leader. He and Rabbis Bronstein and Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of more than 1,800 households. Rabbi Matalon is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Piyut North America and leads many of the project's New York-based programs. Rabbi Matalon’s involvement in the New York, Jewish, and Israeli communities is broad and deep; he serves on a number of boards, including the Board of American Friends of Parents Circle, the Advisory Board of Beit Tefillah Israeli-Tel Aviv, and the Leadership Council of Habitat for Humanity, to name just a few. He has received awards from the New York Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, and the New Israel Fund. A member of the New York Arabic Orchestra, he plays the ‘ud (Arabic lute). Contact.

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Originally from Israel, Daphna Mor is an internationally renowned musician as well as a passionate educator. Hailed by the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune for her virtuosity, Daphna has performed on such prestigious stages as Summer Stage, NY, with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and as a soloist at Carnegie Hall. Daphna also serves as a teaching artist with the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, connecting visual art and music education. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2000, she has established herself as a leading musician educator, and prayer leader in the Jewish world, serving as a Musician-in-Residence at B'nai Jeshurun and Musical Director and Co-Spiritual Leader of Beineinu. Daphna has worked extensively with Piyut over the last decade, performing on concert stages, leading prayer services and bringing it to life for kids in the classroom. Daphna has also designed a multi-layered Piyut curriculum, which she piloted with elementary school students at the Manhattan JCC’s Jewish Journey Project. This flexible curriculum can be adapted for a range of settings and ages, including Hebrew and day schools, universities, and adult education programs. Contact.

Dan Nadel is an Israeli born, New York-based guitarist, composer and producer, whose personal style combines jazz, flamenco, and Middle Eastern influences. In addition to his concert schedule, Dan is the creative and musical director for IAC's Shishi Israeli (hosted monthly at B'nai Jeshurun, featuring Piyutim and modern-day Israeli music). He also partners with Rabbi Roly Matalon of BJ to lead Bo-i Kallah, a monthly Sefarad-Yerushalayim inspired Kabbalat Shabbat service. Dan accompanies weekly Shabbat services at Romemu and is the music director for Zamru in Princeton, NJ. He partners with yoga instructors Rabbi Myriam Klotz and Rabbi Shuli Passow to create innovative workshops that combine yoga with live music accompaniment and chanting of Piyut. Dan is curator and music director for Songs of Sacred Time, a series of Jewish liturgical music concerts at the Manhattan JCC for the 2015-16 season. Dan has also conducted Piyut workshops at the Manhattan JCC on the UWS, Hebrew Union College, BJ, Congregation Beth Elohim (Brooklyn) and Park Slope Jewish Center. Contact.