About Us

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
–Irena Huang

Music by Heart is a non-profit music education organization founded by Israeli musician and educator, Lior Ben-Hur. The organization is dedicated to help schools and organizations build community through music and music education by providing educators and community leaders with culturally diverse music programs and curricula, innovative music projects, professional development workshops, and a new creative approach to music education.

How can we help your school or organization achieve its music education goals?

Our Mission

To provide educational curricula and programs to build inclusive community through innovative music and cultural arts.

Our Vision

We envision communities connected through the experience of music, education, and values.

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is to promote teaching, learning, singing, playing, and knowing music “by heart”. On a spiritual level this means, with love, intention and connection to prayer and music from the heart. On a practical level, it means firsthand experiential learning using oral tradition teaching techniques that encourage students to know music by heart.

Lior Ben Hur:  Founder & CEO

Lior Ben-Hur- Music by Heart

Lior Ben-Hur is a performing artist, composer and award-winning educator born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2004, Lior has been working in music education, teaching and presenting engaging programs for children and adults. With a deep passion for creating new, enhanced, innovative music curricula, Lior is dedicated to using music as a tool to connect people to their souls and bring communities closer together. He has broad span of experience in both religious and secular environments and worked professionally as a touring artist, band leader, formal and informal music teacher, theatre score composer and music director.

In 2013, Lior won the national Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for his new, innovative methods of integrating music as part of the educational experience. 

Lior is constantly performing with his San Francisco based band, Sol Tevél, and has released three studio albums. His first album, World Light, is a collection of faith-based songs that aims to shed a new light and contemporary interpretation on old Jewish texts, ideals and mysticism. His latest album, So I Wander, is an eclectic Reggae album released in 2017 which debuted at #14 on Billboard charts for Top Reggae Album.

Lior also currently serves as the Music Director of Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos, CA.

Supported and Funded by

Jewish Silicon Valley Logo

Partners

JCC East Bay Logo
Congregation Sherith Israel Logo
Congregation Shir Hadash Link

Board of Directors

Zvi Weiss (Board Chair)

Zvi Weiss currently serves as Head of School at San Diego Jewish Academy, early childhood through 12th grade. He has devoted over forty years of his career to Jewish education, teaching in religious schools, working as an informal educator with teens and as a family educator. As an administrator, he has served as Associate Director of both the Bureaus of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco (now Jewish LearningWorks), as the Director of Early Childhood and Family Engagement at the OFJCC Preschool in Palo Alto and as the Head of School at Yavneh Day School (K-8) in Los Gatos, CA. 

Mindy Berkowitz (Vice President)

Mindy Berkowitz recently retired as CEO of Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley.During her tenure, she increased the agency’s budget from $750K to over $7 million.Her prior background in the JCC movement, particularly camping, helped foster her strong beliefs in the power of children’s creativity and community collaboration. At JFS, she engaged the agency in celebrating diversity and empowering people to live their best lives.

Etai Freedman (Secretary)

Etai Freedman is a nonprofit professional with more than 13 years of experience working for some of the most cutting-edge NGOs in the world. Currently, Etai is responsible for the Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow’s donor relations, fundraising and creative development strategies. He has previously served a variety of organizations and projects, including Burning Man, the New Israel Fund, the Global Hunger Foundation, Bienvenidos, and the San Francisco Children’s Day School.

Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper

Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper is currently an Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life and Campus Rabbi at Stanford University. She previously served as the Rabbi and Director of Jewish Studies and Integrated Learning at Yavneh Day School, a K-8 Jewish school in Silicon Valley. Rabbi Hahn Tapper is particularly committed to working with diverse faith communities and examining the intersection between faith and justice. She lives in Redwood City with her partner Aaron Hahn Tapper and their two children.

Rabbi Jessica Kirschner

Rabbi Jessica Kirschner is the Executive Director of Hillel at Stanford.  She has deep roots in the synagogues, summer camps, and youth organizations of the Union for Reform Judaism. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she had been a student leader at Hillel and studied at the Hebrew University. After five years of rabbinical school in Jerusalem and Los Angeles, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2007. She served for seven years as a Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington DC, and as a board member of Jews United for Justice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the  Washington Interfaith Network.

Dr. Evan Kletter

Dr. Evan Kletter was born in Queens, New York but has lived in San Francisco for fifty years. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Francisco and went on to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Alliant University.
In 2017, Evan retired from a 30 year career at a healthcare company where he held positions as a clinician, an operator and, lastly, an executive.
Evan became a bar mitzvah at Sherith Israel in San Francisco and later, Jewish Life came full circle as he was elected to their board, serving twelve years—three years as its president. He currently serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of San Francisco, and the Jewish Partisans Educational foundation (JPEF). 

Diane Tobin (Treasurer)

 

Diane Kaufmann Tobin is the founder and executive director emeritus of Be’chol Lashon, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about the ethnic and racial cultural diversity of the Jewish people through educational resources, diversity training and media. Be’chol Lashon is an initiative of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, a non-profit think tank where she was the Associate Director (1998-2009) and President (2009-present).

Our Values:

  • Community Building
    The power of music to bring people together
  • Community Service
    The concept of music education “in service” of the community
  • Cultural Diversity
    Raising awareness to various Jewish traditions and customs
  • Inclusivity
    Celebrating differences and teaching acceptance
  • Creativity
    As a key component in music education
  • Leadership
    Music education as a tool to empower students to become leaders in their community
  • Hebrew & Israel
    Connecting to Hebrew and Israel through culture and music
  • Performance
    Sharing music brings joy to communities 

Our CEO’s Work Experience:

Congregations:

Congregation Sherith Israel // San Francisco, CA

Temple Emanu-El // San Francisco, CA

Temple Sinai // Los Angeles, CA

Temple Beth Sholom // San Francisco, CA

Peninsula Temple Beth El // San Mateo, CA

Kehilla Community Synagogue // Piedmont, CA

Congregation Kol Shofar // Tiburon, CA

Congregation Beth Jacob // Redwood City, CA

Temple Beth Ami // Santa Rosa, CA

Temple Sinai // Oakland, CA

Peninsula Temple Sholom // Burlingame, CA

Congregation Beth Shalom // Modesto, CA

Congregation Sinai // San Jose, CA

Temple Emanu-El // San Jose, CA

Congregation Beth David // Saratoga, CA

Congregation Shir Chadash // Los Gatos, CA

Temple Bnai Avraham // Beverly, MA

Beth Yeshurum // Houston, TX

Brith Shalom // Houston, TX

Emanu El // Houston, TX

United Congregation of Israelites // Kingston, Jamaica

Temple Beth Shalom // Havana, Cuba

Javura Shirat Hayam // Santa Marta, Colombia

Javura Nahariya // Santa Marta, Colombia

Temple Bet El // Barranquilla, Colombia

Congregation Bet Or // Medellin, Colombia

Congregation B’nei Israel // San Jose, Costa Rica

Temple Kol Sherith Israel // Panama City, Panama

Day Schools:

Yavneh Day School // Los Gatos, CA

Brandeis School of San Francisco

Oakland Hebrew Day School // Oakland, CA

Kehilla Community High School // Palo Alto, CA

Brandeis Marin // San Rafael, CA

Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School // Palo Alto, CA

Contra Costa Jewish Day School // Lafayette, CA

Heritage Day School // Longmeadow, MA

LGA Day School // Northampton, MA

Golda Meir Day School // Barranquilla, Colombia

Colejio Teodor hertzl // Medellin, Colombia

Yitzhak Rabin Day School // Panama City, Panama

Camps:

Camp Ramah // Ojai, CA

Camp Kachol Lavan // Los Angeles, CA

Camp B’chol Lashon // CA

URJ Camp Movement // Israel

Camp Ramah // Monterey, CA

Hillel on Campus:

Hillel at Stanford

Hillel San Francisco

Berkeley Hillel

Hillel Santa Cruz

Hillel Davis & Sacramento

Hillel of Silicon Valley

Organizations:

IAC- Israeli American Council

Harold Grinspoon Foundation

The San Francisco Jewish Federation

The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region

Jewish Silicon Valley

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

San Francisco Jewish Community Center

East Bay Jewish Community Center

B’chol Lashon

Shalom Institute

Jewish Family Services – Silicon Valley

WZO- World Zionist Organization

Israeli Consulate of San Francisco

Israeli Consulate of Los Angeles

Bureau of Jewish Education

Beth Tshuva

Jewish Circle Theatre

Chabbad San Francisco

New Israel Fund

Pico Union Project

United Playz

Children’s Discovery Museum