Israeli choir woos audiences with Wow factor

Oshman Family JCC visitors will have the opportunity to crisscross the new Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life on Oct. 18 to check out more than 15 live musical acts performing as part of the center’s grand opening event.

Each of the groups will perform in a separate area to highlight different sections of the campus. One of the highlights will be the Moran Choir, which is closing the show in the grand new Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall.

Local groups scheduled to perform include the all-female a capella group Vocolot, local rock band Musica and Yiddish dance enthusiasts the Klezmakers.

The Moran Choir, though, is the only group flying thousands of miles to play the event. “We wanted to end our celebration with moving entertainment that appealed to all ages and interests in our community,” notes Mimi Sells, the JCC’s chief marketing officer.

The Israel-based chorus has traveled to the United States multiple times, but the campus grand-opening concert will mark the group’s first official performance in the Bay Area.

Moran Choir founder and musical director Naomi Faran created the group in 1986 after years of working as a music teacher in Israel.

“I love music and believe singing is so important for children,” Faran says.

Faran currently lives near Netanya, between Tel Aviv and Haifa, in a village of about 700 families. She says that community involvement is an important aspect of the group. 

“The choir is doing a lot in the community,” Faran says. “We have special-needs children, at-risk youth and Ethiopian Jews all performing together.”

Since its inception, the Moran Choir has steadily grown to more than 200 members, with vocalists as young as age 4 through adulthood.

Because of the distance, and expense, the entire choir will not be touring the States — just the best of the best, says Faran. The group coming to Palo Alto will be made up of senior members of the choir — mostly vocalists between the ages of 18 and 30.

The choir’s set list will include Israeli music, Jewish songs and some folk tunes, along with the works of classical composers Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Schubert.

The Moran Choir came to be included in campus festivities after an Israeli donor to the JCC mentioned the act to activities coordinator Amy Grossmann.

“I checked them out and thought ‘wow!’ They are really wonderful,” Grossmann says. “It seemed like a great way to close the show.”

The Oshman Family JCC opening event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18. The event is free and open to the public. For details on the choir, visit For more information on the JCC’s grand opening event, visit