Aviva Chernick is our inaugural Artist in Residence. The award-winning singer has brought her voice in music and prayer to communities and congregations around the globe, and she adds her voice to ours under the banner of the Beth Tzedec Centre for Spiritual Well-Being.
As artist in residence, Aviva models and teaches Jewish values and culture and is personally engaged with the larger community through musical expression and leadership. She leads programs related to mindfulness and spirituality for our members and offers mentorship to our spiritual leaders to nurture their own spiritual practice.
Singing in Hebrew, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Yiddish and English, she has had the pleasure of making music with many wonderful musicians including Marcelo Moguilevsky and Cesar Lerner of Klemzer Buenos Aires, Frank London, Yair Dalal, Jackie Richardson. Aviva was the first Canadian to be awarded a Virginia Folk Life apprenticeship to study with her mentor, Flory Jagoda z”l.
As a founding member of the Canadian World Music group Jaffa Road (2002-2016) and while leading her own ensembles, Aviva has toured across Canada, the United States, Israel, Brazil and to Dubai in the U.A.E.(December 2021)
Aviva’s solo and collaborative recordings have garnered nominations and awards including a Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) nomination for La Serena (2020), a CFMA nomination for her solo album When I Arrived You Were Already There, JUNO nominations for both of Jaffa Road’s albums Where The Light Gets In (2012) and Sun Place (2010), a CFMA Award for Where The Light Gets In and a CFMA nomination for The Huppah Project’s Under the Canopy (2009). Aviva and her co-writers from Jaffa Road won the John Lennon International Song-writingGrand Prize for their rendition of “LoYisa Goy”, a prayer for peace. She was co-writer for “Ana El Na” which received an industry nod from OCFF (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), winning the prestigious “Songs From the Heart” award.
For the past fifteen years, alongside an active performing and touring career, Aviva has served in and around Toronto and as a guest in communities across North America leading and teaching about the voice in prayer and about contemplative practice. She completed her training as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and continues to teach a program on niggun and the voice in prayer that she co-designed with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith for the Institute online. In 2018, Aviva was one of 18 Jewish Prayer Leaders chosen to participate in the first Hadar Rising Song Fellowship in Philadelphia and will be part of a cohort studying with mentor and Institute for Jewish Spirituality co-founder, Rabbi Sheila Pelz Weinberg, in 2022. She also continues to further her vocal studies with her teacher, Fides Krucker in the first cohort of teacher trainees for the vocal technique, Emotionally Integrated Voice.
Aviva is the founder of the sitting and singing community neySHEV, and she facilitates workshops in freeing the voice and practices of Mindfulness in Song and Silence at home in Toronto and with diverse communities while on her many travels.
She is honoured to be a part of this beautiful team and community.