Golda Och Academy Hosts 14th Annual Kolot Hayam Jewish Choir Festival

The 14th annual Kolot Hayam Jewish Choral Festival will be held May 31-June 2 in Eatontown, NJ. The festival, hosted by Golda Och Academy, features cutting-edge vocal workshops led by leading singer-songwriters and recording artists, Shabbat services and meals, a group song for choirs to work on and perform together, as well as a choral competition. This special weekend, led by director Jamie Mittleman, enables participating schools to compete in a traditional choral competition while still being able to observe Shabbat and kashrut.
“It’s hard to imagine a more magical weekend than Kolot Hayam,” said Ms. Mittleman. “Each year as the weekend approaches, I look forward to watching the most transformative display of music, passion and community.” 

Since its inception, Kolot Hayam has brought together choir students from The Heschel School, Golda Och Academy, Yeshivah of Flatbush, SAR High School, Gann Academy, Charles E Smith Jewish Day School, The Leffell School, and Ramaz. The festival has added new elements to the program, including an open-mic night for students to perform vocally and instrumentally. This year, the Kolot Hayam festival is also introducing the Kolot Council—a leadership opportunity for choir and non-choir members to work behind the scenes on all details for the weekend. This includes monthly Zoom sessions to gain experience in planning, designing, logistics, budgeting and community building. “Going to Kolot Hayam has given me the opportunity to meet new people and bond over one thing we all have in common — we love music and singing,” said senior Chloe E. “I’m grateful to be friends with people that I met at Kolot Hayam over the years and am very excited to go back this year and see them again!”

Golda Och Academy’s Head of School Rabbi Danny Nevins said, “In addition to being a fantastic celebration of music and Jewish values, Kolot Hayam allows students to flourish and grow in leadership positions, which is an important part of our mission here at Golda Och Academy as well as at our partner Jewish day schools.”

Having attended last year’s festival weekend for the first time, Golda Och Academy choir director Juliana Rappaport said, “Kolot Hayam offers a critically important opportunity to bring students together in song and celebration of Shabbat. For one weekend of the year, our singers are immersed in a Jewish community built primarily around love for music, and they witness the potential for that passion to enhance Jewish experience.” 

Another highlight for this year is a performance by Jewish a capella group Six13, which has generously donated their talent. Kolot mentor and Six13 member Mordy Weinstein added, "Had I had the opportunity to go to a high school choral festival like Kolot Hayam, I would be light years ahead of where I am...For a Jewish high school singer, there is no better weekend."

For more information on Kolot Hayam sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kolot Hayam Director Jamie Mittleman or visit You can also view our Kolot Hayam video.