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Our Mission

HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir is a youth movement that welcomes Jewishly identified and musically talented teens from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and levels of religious observance. HaZamir offers high schoolers in 35 chapters across the United States and Israel the opportunity to learn and sing Jewish choral music at the highest musical standard and on the world’s greatest stages. In weekly rehearsals, regional gatherings, and the HaZamir International Festival, HaZamir teens study Jewish text and history, grow as leaders, cultivate a deep connection to Israel, and create enduring friendships that transcend geographic, political, social, and denominational differences. Together the singers of HaZamir create harmonious unity and long lasting connections, to one another and Judaism, through excellence in music.


  • To perform at the highest level of artistic excellence.

  • To strengthen the Jewish identities of HaZamir participants.

  • To model and build a pluralistic community.

  • To cultivate international ties between American and Israeli teens.

  • To create a training ground for a new generation of Jewish leadership.












During the program year, all HaZamir chapters learn the same repertoire developed annually with a curriculum by HaZamir professional staff.  Weekly chapter rehearsals are led by skilled and knowledgeable choral conductors. Annually, HaZamir chapters come together for a four-day Festival in the spring that culminates in a performance at a major concert venue in New York City. The 2024 performance will take place in Carnegie Hall on April 7th. The HaZamir Israel chapters follow with a second performance in late spring in Israel.

Through HaZamir’s expansive programming, teens with a love for music and talent for singing connect with like-minded peers. They build friendships through the experience and personal challenge of making music together as a choir. HaZamir sets high musical, educational and social standards while by creating a diverse, pluralistic, welcoming, inclusive and affirming experience.Untitled_design_(35).png

The HaZamir Chamber Choir features HaZamir singers (from the U.S. and Israel) who are more musically advanced and are ready for more challenging music. The HaZamir Chamber Choir rehearses and performs as a select ensemble at national events.

The Teen Leadership Program identifies qualified 11th and 12th grade teens through a rigorous application process. Teen leaders are trained throughout the year in an on-line forum and are brought together several times during the year for 2-3 day training retreats.

HaZamir introduces an educational theme each year around which the musical repertoire is chosen. Study texts and curricula are developed by HaZamir’s Director of Education, Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman, Professor Emerita of Music and Education at Gratz College, and professor of music at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

HaZaPrep, the HaZamir Preparatory Program, is the first Jewish choral prep program in America. HaZaPrep is designed to prepare 6th, 7th and 8th graders with the Jewish choral music skills and Hebrew language skills they need to enter into the HaZamir high school program in grade 9. The HaZaPrep curriculum teaches those skills in an environment that is educational and fun. There are currently HaZaPrep chapters in cities across the United States including Baltimore, Bergen County, Boston, Brooklyn, Houston, LA Valley, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, and South Jersey.

The Conductors Training Program gives eligible members of HaZamir, as well as selected HaZamir alumni, the opportunity to learn conducting methodology, gain conducting experience, and study the relationship between text and music from Maestro Matthew Lazar.  We are proud that 23 HaZamir alumni have been or are currently conducting and coordinating HaZamir and HaZaPrep chapters.

HaZamir Alumni return each year to perform in an alumni ensemble at the HaZamir Gala Concert. Fifteen alumni have become HaZamir conductors. Alumni also serve as staff at regional events in the U.S. and Israel as well as the annual HaZamir Festival. HaZamir alumni assume leadership positions, first on campus and then around the world in music and Jewish organizational life; they have entered the ranks of the clergy and assume leadership roles in their communities. In New York, HaZamir alumni were the driving force in the establishment of Zamir Noded.








HaZamir's Professional Leadership

2.pngMatthew Lazar is the Founding Director of the Zamir Choral Foundation and the founder of HaZamir. As the leader of the Jewish choral movement in North America, his superior talents as conductor and interpreter of Jewish music have elevated the standards of Jewish musical performance and educated audiences. In addition to directing the Zamir Chorale, an adult choir, he has also created the Mantua Singers, the Selah Vocal Ensemble, and Shirah: The Community Chorus of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. He has inspired the creation of adult choral ensembles throughout the U.S. and, through the Jeanne R. Mandell Fund for New Music, has contributed to the expansion of the choral repertoire through commissions of new music by the finest Jewish composers. Maestro Lazar has also served as guest conductor for multiple symphony orchestras and festivals, and he presents regularly at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the other major concert halls across the U.S. and Israel. He has served on the faculties of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, is a frequent lecturer and scholar-in-residence, and has made multiple recordings with Zamir and other prominent ensembles.

1.pngVivian Lazar is the Director of HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir. Ms. Lazar was chairman of the English department in a New York City magnet school for the gifted and talented where, for two decades, she taught honors English and dance. Ms. Lazar has created English and writing curricula for private new education initiatives and mentored teachers in the public sector. As an experienced amateur choral singer, Ms. Lazar brings to HaZamir an understanding of the musical and educational value of choral singing. Under her leadership, HaZamir has been increasingly professionalized and has expanded to include a growing number of programs and teens across North America and Israel.  Vivian can be reached at [email protected].

Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman, Administrator and Director of Education for the Zamir Choral Foundation, earned degrees in general music, Jewish music and Jewish studies from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and has taught Jewish music to students of all ages for more than 40 years.  In addition, she has been affiliated with the Zamir Choral Foundation in various musical and managerial capacities since 1971, and currently serves as Administrator of the Foundation.  Dr. Edelman has been named Professor Emeritas of Music and Education by Gratz College, where she served on the faculty for some 25 years, and currently teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Miller Cantorial School.  She is also a much sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics relating to the nature and history of Jewish music, and has been acclaimed for both the breadth of her knowledge and for the popular appeal of her presentations to audiences across the United States and in Israel. Dr. Edelman is the author of numerous articles on Jewish music for a wide range of national and international publications, as well as program notes attendant to concert and recorded performances of Jewish music. Her book, Discovering Jewish Music, was published by the Jewish Publication Society in June, 2003.  Dr. Edelman can be reached at [email protected].

Dr. Francene Sokol, Assistant Director of HaZamir, earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Her research on the mathematical modeling of human vision is published in leading academic journals. Dr. Sokol was a professor of Linguistic and Cognitive Sciences at Brown University and a neuropsychology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. She then served as Mathematics Department Chair and taught mathematics for many years at the Maimonides School, MetroWest Jewish Day School and Gann Academy. Dr. Sokol has studied and performed instrumental and vocal music since childhood, and has performed in numerous instrumental, theater and choral ensembles. Dr. Sokol has participated for over twenty-five years at the North American Jewish Choral Festival. She is thrilled to be working for the Zamir Choral Foundation, passing the joy of Jewish choral music to the next generation, including her own children who are alumni of HaZamir and members of Zamir Noded and Zamir Chorale. Francene can be reached at [email protected]

Hadas SturmanHaZamir Israel Project Manager and Conductor of HaZamir Beit She'an, attended the Music Academy at Tel Aviv University. Ms. Sturman holds a BA in Choir Conducting and completed a two-year internship in Children's Choirs. She has been conducting a professional conservatory choir for the last fifteen years. Hadas can be reached at [email protected]





 Angie LieberDevelopment Professional, comes to Zamir following long tenures as Director of Development at the Hannah Senesh School in Brooklyn and Director of Public Relations at the JCC in Manhattan.  Angie earned a B.A. in Religion from Oberlin and a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard, and in addition to her work with Zamir, maintains her own consulting practice. Angie can be reached at






Dani PaticoffAssistant to the Director of HaZamir, brings her love for Jewish music, teen engagement, and meticulous organization skills to HaZamir. Her lifelong passion for music began with voice lessons at age 6, continued at Long Island High School for the Arts, and advanced at Hofstra University, where she earned her BS in Music and was president of Chai Notes, a Jewish a cappella group. Dani is a proud member of Zamir Noded, Zamir Choral Foundation’s young adult choir. She loves working with the teens, parents, and staff of HaZamir. Dani can be reached at [email protected].

Emma Miller, Teen Leadership Coordinator and HaZamir Teen Educatoris a Jewish educator and theater director originally from Cleveland, Ohio and is a graduate of Kenyon College. In addition to her work at HaZamir, Emma is Director of the Mandel JCC of Cleveland's Performing Arts Camp and is Theater Arts Director at B'nai Jeshurun. Emma has taught and worked with children and teens at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Laurel School, The Temple-Tifereth Israel, The Marlene Mayerson JCC Manhattan, Tkiya, Romemu, and more. Emma has written original curricula that use the arts to teach students about the Holocaust, Jewish identity, and American Jewish history. Her other writing has been published by Your Teen Magazine. Emma can be reached at [email protected]







Other Projects of the Zamir Choral Foundation

Founded and directed by Matthew Lazar, the Zamir Choral Foundation (ZCF) is the driving force for sustaining and elevating the Jewish choral tradition in North America. ZCF is the center of a growing network, sponsoring programs, concerts, workshops, festivals and other activities that raise musical standards, and expand the knowledge of and appreciation for Jewish choral music. ZCF’s core programs include:

Zamir Chorale - Founded in 1960, the choir has won acclaim for its superior performances, encompassing the full spectrum of 4 centuries of Jewish choral repertoire. It has commissioned and premiered works by North American and Israeli composers and has appeared with Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and Elie Wiesel.

The North American Jewish Choral Festival is the premiere Jewish choral event. Held each summer since 1990, the Festival features five days of intensive workshops, study, performances, concerts, with hundreds of amateur and professional singers, conductors, educators, cantors and lovers of Jewish music from across North America and beyond. 

The Mandell Rosen Fund for New Music supports ZCF’s commissioning activities, specifically the composition of new works that are premiered by ZCF ensembles, which become part of the growing Jewish choral repertoire available to choirs worldwide.  Twenty-one commissions, including 4 by Yehezkel Braun, Israel prize winner, have been produced through The Mandell Rosen Fund, enriching Zamir’s library of modern choral compositions and the choral repertoire around the world. 

Zamir Noded - ZCF’s newest ensemble provides a high-level musical opportunity for young adults aged 18-30 to rehearse and perform high level Jewish choral music. Noded draws singers from across the tri-state area and beyond.

Performance Missions to Israel - Since 1967 ZCF has regularly led missions to Israel that included musical programs, touring, and interacting with the citizens of Israel.  Zamir ensembles have performed in major concert halls and for residents in a variety of settings, including Beit Levinstein (for injured soldiers), Yad L’Kashish (for the elderly), and the Shalva Center (for children with developmental disabilities, and their families) . The Zamir Choral Foundation is especially proud to have taken 5 missions to Israel at the height of the second Intifada, when tourism was at an all-time low. Most recently, Zamir led a mission to Israel in August 2018 to celebrate Israel at 70, and in August 2023 to celebrate Israel at 75, continuing Zamir's goal of fostering bonds of friendship and support between the North American Jewish community and her brothers and sisters in the Jewish state. 


Zamir Choral Foundation
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1948
New York, NY 10115

[email protected]
(212) 870-3335

[email protected]
(212) 870-3339

HaZamir is a program of the Zamir Choral Foundation
Matthew Lazar, Founder and Director