GTJ had the opportunity to speak with Sheldon Low, a musician, cantorial soloist, and frequent DC visitor. Low, who bounces around the United States performing in rock concerts, Shabbat Services, and artist events in various Jewish communities, describes himself as a Jewish musician and a Jewish educator. He has released a number of Jewish music albums, including, most recently, a collaboration with Rick Recht, called Look At Me, which features Jewish songs for children.
Although your home base is in NYC, you recently played in northern VA. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Visiting and playing in Northern Virginia is always a treat. This was my first time playing at Camp Achva but it totally lived up to what I have come to know and love about the Jewish community in Fairfax…so warm, welcoming, excited, and best of all, ready to rock (I managed to break 2 strings during the concert)! I especially love that I got the chance to meet a bunch of the campers and staff before the show, and even got to see glimpses of a fashion show put on by the youngest campers, a Suessical rehearsal, and a camp wedding.
Did you have any special Shabbat experiences while you were here?
After the performance, I headed over to Temple B’nai Shalom (after a stop at the music store for some spare strings) where I have the HUGE honor of being a returning soloist and musician. Rabbi Nyer and the incredible TBS community packed the sanctuary, as it usually is there. Julia brought her violin (or was it a fiddle?) and Rachel brought her guitar and voice….not only did I get to bring in Shabbat with my TBS family, but my cousin Shirley (who I met for the first time last month) drove about 45 minutes to be with us for Shabbat. Not bad for one day, right?
Any chance of seeing you in the DC area again soon?
Thankfully I don’t have to wait too long to return to that part of the country. On September 9th, I’ll be co-leading services at Sixth & I Synagogue (an INCREDIBLE community and model for innovative Jewish programming) where I am the cantorial soloist every other month [at the Sixth in the City Shabbat services]. I’ll also be back at Temple B’nai Shalom on Friday, October 28th.
As a community leader there, can you tell us some of your favorite things about Sixth & I?
It would be hard to pinpoint one thing that I love so much about 6th and I. When I first came to Sixth & I, I was definitely inspired by the community…peers of mine who were doing REALLY impressive work in the world who wanted to have a Jewish community. I was also impressed by the quality of the programming. They bring in top acts and speakers, various programs for a multitude of interests, from running clubs to trivia night to interfaith study to name a few. And you really can choose how much you want to engage, whether you want to visit just for the speakers and entertainment, or if you want to perform acts of social justice, study Judaism, or some combination of activities. And they are constantly creating new programs and new ways to engage the community…if the program doesn’t exist yet at Sixth & I, they will be more than happy to create it. So it’s not surprising that the sanctuary is filled to capacity on a regular basis, which is another thing I love about it…If I lived in DC, I wonder if I would ever leave the building.
Where can we get more info about you?