Cantor Lisa Levine is a worship artist, songwriter, ritual artist, recording artist, concert artist and yoga prayer facilitator. She has been building bridges between people of all faith traditions for more than 30 years. Lisa works with youth choirs, teen choirs, adult choirs and bands to create a unique and spiritual weekend of music, movement, chant, meditation and healing.
Lisa is often featured in Press for her thoughtful articles
Read a few samples of her writings and click below to see the full articles
Yes, There Are Jews in Eastern Uganda
Last summer, I was honored and humbled to meet Mugoya Shadrach Levi, a 29-year-old rabbinic student from Uganda, who was in the U.S. for three weeks to travel and study. Over dinner, Shadrach, as he is known, told my husband and me his story, which both shocked and captivated us.
Shadrach leads the Jewish Congregation of Namutumba, a community of 2,000 members that survives and thrives despite a years’-long famine in Uganda. When I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he explained that he doesn’t usually eat breakfast – just a glass of tea – because the children had to be fed first, and maybe there would be rice or bananas for lunch or dinner.
No running water in the village of more than 11,000 people means the women must walk long distances to fill water jugs and carry them back on their heads, providing a small amount of water to bathe, clean clothes, and quench their thirst from the hot sun. Washing and laundry are done in a tub and cooking is done over an open fire. With very little solar or electric light, study is limited to daylight hours.
This post originally appeared on the blog of ReformJudaism.org.Lisa Levine
I first found my voice at a dying woman’s bedside during a unit of clinical pastoral education. I had been paged to the neurology ICU for a family struggling to say goodbye to their mother, who was in the final stages of brain cancer. When I asked her daughter to tell me about her mother, I learned that she loved music and had been the choir director and organist in their church for many years.
Instinctively, I asked if I might sing something to help soothe her mother’s spirit in this time of need. The first song that came to mind was “Balm in Gilead,” a gospel hymn I remembered singing in my high school choir. I spent the next two hours singing and praying with her family, using Jewish and other faiths’ musical traditions to help them let go and transition their mother’s spirit through a window of love and memory.