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Our Cantor & Assistant Director of Education

Alisa Fineman graduated from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion – The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (CCRT) in May of 2018 as Cantor, after having served as a Cantorial Soloist for over 25 years. Touring and recording as a singer-songwriter since 1988, she began exploring her cantorial path in 1990 when she was invited to sing for a number of congregations in Central Coastal California. The warmth of congregational life, a love of music and deeper learning fueled Alisa’s desire to become a cantor.
Alisa grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, born to a family rich in musical heritage. Her great-grandfather played first trumpet with the New York Philharmonic under the legendary Toscanini. Her grandmother, a concert pianist, gave Alisa her first piano lessons. At the age of ten Alisa began learning guitar, and a year later she was writing her first songs.
Alisa’s Jewish journey is a unique one, from her San Fernando Valley roots to living in the Rocky Mountain and Big Sur wilderness while continuing her studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she graduated in Environmental Studies, writing songs all the while. She has toured diverse communities across the country as a singer and songwriter while evolving her experience and studies in Jewish prayer and music. These ingredients have seasoned this performer, sacred song leader and teacher with a deep connection to the earth, a celebratory spirit of Jewish identity and an expanded sense of humanity.
In her community, Alisa was one of six Monterey County residents named Monterey County “Champions of the Arts” for 2011, and the following spring, with her talented music and life partner, Kimball Hurd, were invited to perform at Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival in Israel and a series of performances throughout the country. Other performances include a special concert for the annual conference of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. Alisa has been honored for her original Jewish music at the Shalshelet Jewish Music Festival in New York City. She is also published by Transcontinental Music. She loves celebrating Shabbat and holidays with her singing congregation, officiating lifecycle events and is especially fond of mentoring B’nai Mitzvah students and young song-leaders. CBI’s long-time educator Louise Riddell-Kaufman says, “Alisa draws on each child’s unique talents and strengths, inspiring their leadership and confidence.” And Temple Beth El Aptos President Josh Karter says, “Cantor Alisa sings with a gentle magnificence. The word that best describes Alisa and her music is grace.”
Outside her congregational duties, Alisa continues to perform with Kimball at music festivals, cantorial concerts and other programs. She enjoys every opportunity she has to be walking in nature, cycling along the coast and visiting family and friends.

To reach Alisa, email or call 831-624-2015 Ext 13

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784