TRUTH | LOVE | MEANING | PURPOSE
The spirit and purity of Ellie’s voice have moved audiences since she was a child. Now an inspiring performer, cantorial soloist, and songleader based in Nashville, she has found her passion and purpose in writing Jewish music. Listeners can’t help but feel a palpable connection to her songs, whether calling for social justice or rising up in joyous celebration. The songs on her latest album, Pray for Open Eyes, are melodic, catchy and ideal for soloists, songleaders, or congregations.
The wellspring of Ellie’s Jewishness and her passion for social justice run deep. Growing up in Los Angeles in a musical and Jewishly active family, she studied Hebrew liturgy at day school, sang and danced at summer camp and “shul-hopped” across Southern California, becoming conversant with Jewish practice and culture of all movements and stripes. Her background in Hebrew and Judaic studies inspires her poetic interpretations of traditional prayers relevant today.
Recognized early for her vocal gift, Ellie performed in children’s musicals, high-school honor choirs and operas – and went on to earn a magna cum laude degree in classical voice performance from the prestigious Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
But it was songwriting that became her passion. She began performing her original pop and folk inflected music, including a gig at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Very soon, though, her professional aspirations, and her heart, led her to Nashville, where she wrote pop and country songs and appeared in gigs around town.
Ellie quickly became active in Nashville’s welcoming Jewish community. She chairs NowGen, a group of young professionals sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. She is a frequent cantorial soloist at “The Temple” (whose official name is Congregation Ohabai Sholom), where she has performed her original songs as well as traditional liturgy. She has sung at citywide Israel Independence Day and Memorial Day events. She co-founded Music City’s Jewsic City Shabbat™, a space for young professionals to come together on Friday nights for unplugged services and a shared meal. Recently she was awarded the Young Leadership Award by the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
And now Ellie's music and spirit have traveled far beyond Nashville. Her songs have been sung by others in synagogues around the country, and Ellie herself has created community through music around the United States and abroad. Some highlights include performing at the URJ Biennial conference as an Emerging Artist, serving as songleader on Birthright Israel, and spending three months with a progressive Jewish community in Florence, Italy.
Even this time of social distancing hasn't slowed her down. Ellie has been leading and building community over Zoom and other technological aids, much to the delight of the communities she has worked with.