Ani Maamin, I Believe, A Voice for Humanity CD Release
Park Avenue Synagogue’s Cantor Shira Lissek
Releases 2nd Album, Ani Maamin,
a Timely Love Poem to the Human Spirit
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York – With an eye on modern society and the unease and turmoil that swirls around us, Cantor Shira Lissek says that now – perhaps more than ever in recent history – we as a people must try to see the humanity in each other and strive to make the world a better place, not only for ourselves but for generations to come. Indeed, in listening to the first track on this prayerful and reflective album, Ani Maamin, or “I Believe With All My Heart,” Lissek seeks to draw from tragedy of the past to inform the present and enlighten the future.
Ani Maamin is a deeply personal album; Lissek is the daughter of a “Hidden Child” who survived the Holocaust due to the courageous efforts of what are now honored as “Righteous Among The Nations,” and says she has always been compelled to record an album centered around the notion that every human being has infinite value – that all people can add their light, or their “spark” into this world for greater good.
Lissek debuted the album in commemoration with Yom HaShoah last month on April 24th, (Holocaust Remembrance Day), offerings songs with a chamber ensemble at Park Avenue Synagogue in a standing-room-performance.
For Lissek, the songs on the album are timely reminder that as a people, we are responsible for making the world a better place. Featuring new compositions and new arrangements of traditional texts in collaboration with composers including Oran Eldor and Beth Styles, Ani Maamin serves as Lissek's love poem to the human spirit.
For a link to Ani Maamin on Bandcamp:
For a link to the April 24th live performance of Ani Maamin at Park Avenue Synagogue:
About the making of Ani Maamin
“I created the album, Ani Maamin for our Yom HaShoah commemoration at Park Avenue Synagogue,” says Lissek. “This year, I wanted to share a second generation musical response to the holocaust that reflects my deep pride and love for my heritage and family, combined with my overwhelming gratitude to upstanding bystanders who saved my grandmother, father and two uncles.”
She continued, “My family’s story – my father’s story as a hidden child in France during WWII – is one that has most influenced my world view. There are universal questions that I am addressing through this album –like ‘how in the world could this have happened?’ Composer Kenny Karen in his song ‘If The World Had Cried,’ which I recorded for this album, poetically and beautifully illustrates this question. I often wonder: if the world had cried, would this crime against humanity have happened? If the world had cried, would these souls still be here with us? I have come to learn that it is the process of dehumanization that allows regular everyday people to develop moral blind spots for those who are different from them. The people who saved my family were somehow able to stand up and do the right thing. How can we learn to follow their example?”
Lissek is quick to point out that Ani Maamin is not music written during the time of the Holocaust and that she sees the album as possibly providing a spiritual pathway towards a brighter future.
“In the Talmud, there is an oft-cited passage that reads, in summary, to save one life is to save the world entire. And to quote Emma Lazarus “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” I’d like to think that with the music of Ani Maamin, I am able to put forth a very simple but crucial idea that music and prayer have the power to ignite our inner divinity. We can all strive to be our best selves and in turn create a better world for humankind; that out of the depths we survived and we can continue to survive and even flourish if we can imagine a world where there is a true love of humanity. This is my invitation to remember this; to remind ourselves of the value of human life,” she adds. “This is as much an album about my family and our perseverance and history as it is about human kind’s history and perseverance. I am humbled and so very excited to share this music with the world.”
About Cantor Shira Lissek
She is the Cantor of Park Avenue Synagogue (PAS), the largest Conservative community in NYC and the flagship of Jewish liturgical music in North America. Worship services and programs led by Cantor Lissek at PAS reach thousands of people in NYC as well as worldwide, via live streaming. In December 2015, Cantor Lissek released her debut album, “P’tach Libi, Open my heart.” A religious leader in the broader community, Cantor Lissek has performed and collaborated at commemorations for FDNY 9-11 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Cardinals Eagan and Dolan; as well as participated in the 25th Anniversary Celebration of The ADL’s Hidden Child Foundation. She has sung the national anthem for the WNBA at Madison Square Garden and for the Staten Island Yankees for its Jewish Heritage Night.
This year already is marked by several notable honors, as Lissek presented A Shabbat Gathering of Love and Light the night before the Women’s March on New York. Earlier this month, Lissek led Hatikvah at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC, (https://youtu.be/OkfP0LcTLoI), performing in front of 18,000 attendees. Her full bio is available at http://shiralissek.com/bio.asp