Rabbi David Baron
Rabbi David Baron is the rabbi of the largest arts and entertainment industry temple in the United States, where his services and inspirational sermons have been broadcast on national television and webcast internationally to US troops overseas. He authored the art and inspirational prayer book “Sacred Space,” and the evocative High Holy Day prayer book “Sacred Moments” featuring the biblical art of Marc Chagall. Also, Rabbi Baron is author of the ethics in business volume “Moses on Management; 50 Leadership Lessons from the Greatest Manager of All Time” (1999 Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster), is a widely sought after speaker on topics ranging from “Leadership and Legacy” to “The Successful Blending of Religion and Art”.
He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, NBC, PBS, and has spoken to diverse groups ranging from Young Presidents Organization and World Presidents Organization to the Young Leadership Convention of the United Jewish Communities. His frequent television appearances have featured interviews with leading personalities, artists, Nobel Laureates, and political leaders.
He chaired the global gathering honoring Righteous Holocaust Era Diplomats at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York in April 1999. As founder and president of the Committee for Righteous Deeds, he also chaired and co-produced the world premiere of the History Channel Documentary “Diplomats for the Damned.”
As a noted television speaker he delivered weekly sermons, in Los Angeles, on the American Jewish Television Hour. He also founded the Temple of the Air and produced a nationally televised High Holy Day program for the homebound featuring numerous celebrities. . This program was co-sponsored by the nation’s largest Jewish charitable organization the UJC (United Jewish Communities). It represents over 160 federations across the United States including the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. He has interviewed a number of world-renowned scholars, authors, and political leaders including Elie Wiesel, Abba Eban, Yakov Agam, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Dr. Jonas Salk.
Rabbi Baron served on the Boards of the Jewish National Fund, Maple Counseling Center, American Jewish Congress, and numerous philanthropic organizations. He also served as the Chaplain of the Beverly Hills Police Department. He has consulted on numerous feature films dealing with Jewish subject matter including, “Mobsters”, “A Stranger Among Us”, “Cemetery Club.”, “Castaway” and “Along Came Polly”. He has also appeared on and consulted on a number of television programs including, “Days of Our Lives”, “Murphy Brown”, and “Home Front”, as well as “NYPD Blue”, “Uprising” and “Judas and Jesus,” and “The Drew Carey Show.”
Rabbi Baron pioneered the fusion of religion and the arts in his career in the Los Angeles pulpit. His religious leadership has touched the lives of thousands of Jews in greater Los Angeles. His creative services to capacity crowds have made Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills a memorable and spiritually uplifting experience and the address of religion and the arts.
Ilysia Pierce - Cantor
After pursuing a career in the theatre since childhood, Ilysia says it was “beshert”, meant to be, when Rabbi David Baron heard her sing. It was after that meeting that Ilysia redirected her life and began her journey as the Cantor of Temple of the Arts in Beverly Hills, California. She has led Shabbat and High Holy Day services since 1999. In 2003 Rabbi David Baron and the Temple produced a CD, Enlighten which has elicited outstanding audience and critical review. Ilysia’s stirring rendition of “We Came to Sing in Jerusalem” was chosen to be on the Keeping the Faith, Voices for Israel 2 CD benefiting survivors of terrorism in Israel*. Her vocal talents were also featured in the title song, “Keeping the Faith.”
Ilysia began studying acting, voice and dance at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute for the Performing Arts and received her BA in Theatre Arts at California State University, Northridge.
Prior to her tenure at the Temple, Ilysia enjoyed a successful career entertaining audiences on stage, television, nightclubs and in concert. Some of her theatrical highlights include: Disney’s "King David", an oratorio concert sparking the reopening of the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York (the original home of the Ziegfeld Follies), Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast," the Narrator in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Hodel in "Fiddler on the Roof," Frumah-Sara in "Fiddler on the Roof" with Theodore Bikel and Lainie Kazan, Eva Peron in "Evita" which she received a Dramalogue Critics’ Choice award for outstanding performance, and Johanna in "Sweeney Todd", to name a few.
After singing this beautiful song by Craig Taubman, Shema Bini, to our Temple of the Arts B'nai Mitzvot for over 13 years, it was very emotional for me to finally sing it to my own son at his Bar Mitzvah!
Ilysia was thrilled to originate the role of “Miss Oops-A-Daisy” for the nationwide PBS television show, The Huggabug Club, where she was able to teach children “it’s okay to make an oopsie, everyone makes mistakes sometimes!”
Ilysia continues to share her vocal talents outside of Temple of the Arts. Her reputation as a consummate entertainer has prompted invitations to sing in concerts as the featured guest artist at local venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, various fundraising events, the Jewish Federation and at Pan Pacific Park’s Holocaust Memorial Yom HaShoah event.
Of all her successes and accomplishments, Ilysia says the one she is most thankful for is that of wife to her supportive husband, David, and mother to her two beautiful children, Braxton and Madison.
Sharon Farber - Music Director
Since the beginning of 2011, our Music Director, Composer Sharon Farber, has been extremely busy with her music. In January, The Culver Symphony Orchestra performed her symphonic piece “Translucent Rocks” to an enthusiastic audience. In may, the Orange County Women’s Chorale, under the direction of Eliza Rubenstein, world premiered “When Music Sounds”- a newly commissioned work. In June, her song cycle ”Bridges of Love”, commissioned by Pacific Serenades Ensemble, was recorded in London by acclaimed Grammy Award Winner Soprano Hila Plitmann for a fall release by Signum Records:
Coming August, Ms. Farber’s piano ballad #1 will be featured at the NACUSA-L.A. piano concert (August 27th). The challenging work will be performed by Dr. Tali Tamor.
Ms. Farber has also been commissioned lately by the outstanding iPalpiti Orchestra (who will be performing at our Temple in our July service) to compose a new work to be premiered at Disney Concert Hall in 2012. She is currently gearing up for another performance of her highly praised original piece, ASHKINA, written for mixed choir, chamber orchestra and ethnic instruments, which will feature renowned multi-instrumentalist, Omar Faruk Tekbilek. The concert will take place at Symphony Space in New York City on November 12th, 2011.
In addition, Sharon will be scoring two films back to back this summer, (one of them produced by CAMERA organization- we had its president, Andrea Levin, speak at our Temple in May) as well as reprising her role as Composer In Residence for the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, where her “Nietzsche Trio”, will be performed - it's based on the soundtrack she composed for the feature film “When Nietzsche Wept” (commercially released by Moviescore media).
She also gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Eden Kontesz on February 28th- her best composition ever :)
For more information: www.sharonfarber.com
Board of Directors & Staff
Founding Rabbi: David Baron
President: James Blatt
Vice President: Charles Axelrod
Treasurer: Jordan Friedberg
Board Members: Dorian Bilak, Ray Rosenthal, Jim Ross, Ari Ryan, Jill Black Zalben
Cantor: Ilysia Pierce
Music Director: Sharon Farber
Director of Administration: Kasey Carter
Financial Controller: Roxanne Quesada
Events Coordinator: Terry Jantz
Life Cycles Coordinator: Tanya Segal
Fundraising Coordinator: Melissa Tillman