Jay Rapoport, RJE, MARE ’14, Releases New “Attitude of Gratitude” Album Featuring HUC Alumni

I’m so grateful for my time at HUC, not only for the amazing community that continues to feed my soul, but also for the impact of what I learned upon my career and my music.

Jay RapoportJay Rapoport, RJE, Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Sholom of Chicago and 2014 alumnus of our New York School of Education, has combined his passions for Jewish education and composition to release his single, “I Want To Be Forgiven,” from his new album, “Attitude of Gratitude.” The album celebrates his seven years in Chicago and features collaborations with local colleagues, including members of the HUC community: Cantor Susie Friedman ’15, Cantor Andrea Markowicz ’13, Rachel Mylan, MAJE ’15, Cantor Jay O’Brien ’16, Cantor Shanna Zell ’17, and cantorial student Beth Reinstein.

Due to the pandemic, “Attitude of Gratitude” was produced remotely by Zach Singer during the summer of 2021. Several songs were composed as theme songs for the Beit Sefer Shalom Religious School that Rapoport runs, with liturgical interpretations, social justice anthems, and family dedications. The album is inspired by his childhood favorite LP, “Free To Be You And Me,” by Marlo Thomas & Friends, as well as the book, “Thanks A Thousand,” written by his former congregant A.J. Jacobs. The album is an expression of gratitude towards Temple Sholom of Chicago, the Chicago Jewish community, and the musical home he has found with Jewish Rock Radio’s “Chicago Sings” project. It is currently being mixed, with plans to release songs monthly during the coming year.

“One of my favorite aspects of my recording projects has been collaborating with incredibly talented colleagues from HUC and building community through the creative process itself,” shared Rapoport. “I recorded my last album in the basement practice rooms of HUC/New York back in 2014 with an amazing crew of then-students: Cantor Ben Ellerin ’15, Cantor Joshua Finkel ’14, Cantor Lucy Fishbein ’16, MARE ’17, Cantor Vlad Lapin ’17, Cantor Emma Lutz ’16, Cantor Jay O’Brien, Cantor Shanna Zell, and Rabbi Daniel Reiser ’16.”

“For this new project,” he continued, “I was excited to feature my Chicago HUC colleagues. Recording this album remotely due to the pandemic allowed me to reach beyond local connections to include some of my favorite people from around the country! I’m so grateful for my time at HUC, not only for the amazing community that continues to feed my soul, but also for the impact of what I learned upon my career and my music.”

Prior to joining the Temple Sholom staff in 2014, Rapoport served as Youth Educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City and as Camp Director at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA. He earned his Master of Arts in Religious Education from HUC’s New York campus and B.A. in Elementary Education and Music from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He earned the Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) title in 2019, reflecting his academic and professional accomplishments. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Yad B’Yad Award from the ARJE, recognizing innovative programming and curricula.

Rapoport is a pianist, vocalist, and composer of original Jewish music, and is a Featured Artist on Jewish Rock Radio (JRR) and JKids Radio, and a member of JRR Chicago Sings. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Rapoport’s work as a composer of “Ruach Rock” Jewish music has taken him to new heights, from his network television debut on the Winter 2020 Disney Holiday Singalong (wishing you a “Happy Chanukah!”) to the Spring 2021 release of his first fully produced music video, “La-bri’ut,” (funded by the Covenant Foundation), with six of his songs included in Transcontinental Music Publishing’s forthcoming “Manginot: The Complete Jewish Children’s Songbook, Volume 3.”

Rapoport and his wife Rachel live in Lakeview, IL, with their two children, Ruthie and Emet.

Listen to “I Want To Be Forgiven” here: Purchase/Download or Stream on Spotify. Learn more about Rapoport on his website, www.ruachrock.com.