July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Sorah Shaffren Puts on a Perfect Performance for Women

Multi-talented musical entertainer Sorah Shaffren has been called a “ Walking Jewish Music Jukebox” and it’s easy to see why. The energetic morah, who regularly performs for women and girls at a variety of events, has been singing and performing since a very young age. As the program director at Camp Dina for the last 10 years, she said, “All summer, I run a 55-day-long dance party for the girls.” Coming up with special programming, night activities and ruach at meals has made her a veritable expert at running musical events and curating event-perfect playlists.

But Sorah doesn’t just sing and create playlists. She is also a songwriter, composer and expert guitar player with music in her genes. Her mother is a trained opera singer and her father, great-grandfather, brothers and uncles are all renowned chazanim. As one of seven musically gifted children, Sorah and her siblings all share their talent with the world. Two of her brothers are known singers Mordechai Shapiro and Duvie Shapiro. Growing up, the children would often sing together with her mother on the accordion or piano and their father on his guitar. Every year, together with Naomi and Mordechai, the trio of siblings compose an original song for Meorot, an all-girls production of dance and song, with proceeds from the production going to NCSY.

It was during COVID that Sorah was invited to perform at a fundraiser for Neve Yerushalyaim. In an empty catering hall that housed a giant stage equipped with professional lighting, she put on a performance alongside a network of her female entertainer friends. The event was livestreamed to tens of thousands of young girls and women all over the world and it provided some much-needed simcha at a very tumultuous time. Sorah has participated in similar livestreamed and live events for other organizations, such as Project Inspire, the OU Women’s Initiative, Ohel Sarala and Links.

“These types of events are totally inspiring and such a fun experience for me,” Sorah said. And she had left her mark, because once the world began to reopen, she started fielding requests to perform at bat mitzvahs, kumzitzes, challah bakes and women-only concerts. Her bookings had her traveling beyond the tri-state area to places like Baltimore, Philadelphia and even Israel.

When it comes to bat mitzvahs, she brings a full DJ setup that includes a professional-grade sound system, dance floor lighting and of course, extra dancers. “At a bat mitzvah, my main goal is to make every moment of the event, every minute of the simcha count. I want the bat mitzvah girl to feel special every minute.”

Sorah helps coordinate the schedule, learning every detail and planning accordingly so that “every single moment is meaningful, well-spent and beautiful; and that everything the family wanted and were dreaming about for their simcha, happens at their simcha. I like to focus the energy of the party around the bat-mitzvah girl and her family.”

When the party is coming to a close, Sorah’s unique signature is to sing a song for the bat mitzvah girl with her name in it, along with a few other songs, to get everybody dancing around the girl for one final moment. “At the end of every party, the baalei simcha have the biggest smiles on their faces,” she said. “The bubbies always come over and tell me how amazing the party was, and how impressed they were that the girls were engaged and entertained throughout the entire simcha.”

For kumzitzes, whether it’s for a few dozen women or a few hundred, Sorah brings a sound technician, her professional sound system and mood lighting, and, of course, her guitar. She is inherently skilled at transforming a kumzitz into a unifying program that brings together all different kinds of women from different walks of life. She achieves this by carefully planning which songs will speak to the women and creating a songbook that includes the Hebrew lyrics, a transliteration and an English translation. Every songbook for every event will always be unique to each group.

During the week, Sorah is a Judaic studies morah at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, as well as the girls’ music teacher. Her passion for chinuch overflows to every aspect of her life. She sees each event as an opportunity to inspire people in an informal way. Her approach of having a blast in a modest way is infectious, and engages girls and women of all ages.

Sorah recalled growing up watching her talented mother, Roberta Shapiro, share her opera-singing talent with her community in Monsey, New York. “She sang at women-only shul events all the time. She helped raise money for the shul,” said Sorah, who views her mother as a role model, since she never felt stifled by her role as an Orthodox woman observing the rules of modesty. “She would belt out opera in our kitchen, her own personal theater.” Following in her mother’s footsteps, “I feel really strongly about appreciating and loving my role in the Jewish community.”

To book your next event with Sorah Shaffren call 845-323-1573. Find her on Instagram @sorahshaffren

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