Member Biographies

Conductor and Music Director

Anna Dubrova

Anna received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in choral conducting, music theory and piano education at the School of Music and the Academy of Music in the Ukraine, Russia. Anna gained extensive experience in conducting, piano teaching and composing in Russia and in the Albany area. Among her compositions are arrangements of Jewish choral music which Ne’imah has performed over the years. Anna’s talent, professionalism, dedication and patience have contributed to Ne’imah’s longevity and to Ne’imah becoming the Capital’s Region ambassador of Jewish choral music.

 

Piano Accompanist

Daniel White

This year marks Daniel’s third year playing and singing with Ne’imah. He first heard about Ne’imah through his church choir director, and he felt Ne’imah would be a great opportunity to expand his horizons as a musician in the Capital Region. Ne’imah is special to Daniel because everybody in the group works together well and wants to improve and learn, and it’s a positive environment in which he enjoys ending his weekends. Each of the guest artists have been an exciting privilege to work with. They all bring their unique energy and style to their performances and give our music deeper meaning and depth. He also sings with Albany Pro Musica, the Broad Street Chorale, and at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Colonie. Daniel is also very involved in the musical theater world, having directed and accompanied shows at the Cue Theater, Timothy Murphy Playhouse, and Schenectady Light Opera Company.


Member Biographies

Soprano Section

Helene Ainspan, Founding Secretary – Helene has been a member of Ne’imah since the start and have performed in all of the annual concerts as well as others in which we were invited to participate. The special ones were performing with Cantor Mizrahi, Zalmen Mlotek, and the Zamir Chorale of Boston. Helene served as Secretary to the Board of Ne’imah for the first 25 years of its existence here in the Capital District.

Miriam Cantor-Stone, Board Member – Miriam is in her second season with Ne’imah, and her first as a board member. She’s been singing in choirs for the last twenty years or so, from her elementary school choir, high school a cappella group, college chorale, and several wonderful community choirs since entering the “real world” post-college graduation. Miriam learned about Ne’imah from a contact at the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York upon moving to the Capital Region in the fall of 2018, and was enchanted by the Jewish repertoire and welcoming membership. In addition to singing with Ne’imah, you can find Miriam singing with Albany Sacred Harp on Wednesday evenings, knitting while watching movies or listening to podcasts, and taking way too many pictures of her cats.

Sherry Kearns, Chorus President – Sherry is delighted to say she has been a member of Ne’imah for the last 21 years and she is honored to serve as its current president. Sherry first heard about Ne’imah when her mother saw an ad in the Jewish World and let her know about it. She never knew there was such a thing as a Jewish community chorus, so this was a game changer for her! She has made many friends over the years with Ne’imah and it is fantastic that Jewish music is the common thread between us. We have had the opportunity to sing with some fantastic and talented performers and she personally has been exposed to music she never would have seen in any other aspect of her life. Sherry thanks Anna Dubrova for leading us in this wonderful direction over the years and for sharing her enthusiasm for Jewish music!

Josie Kivort, Board Member, Founding Member – Josie has been singing with Ne’imah since it was founded and loves it! In 1991, Josie also joined Octavos Singers in Schenectady, which performs the classical choral repertoire.  For one week in the summer, for 20 years, Josie also had the wonderful experience singing at the Berkshire Choral Festival. She has participated twice at the Northeastern Jewish Music Festival.

Margie Rosenberg, Chorus Librarian, Founding Member – Margie has enjoyed choral singing since high school choir days. Ne’imah lets Margie combine her enjoyment of choral singing with her love for Jewish music, and to do so with a friendly group of like-minded singers.

Dr. Jude Sagor – Jude has been singing with Ne’imah on and off since 2014, when friends in the chorus invited her to join. Jude’s favorite guest performers are always the ones who perform at the current concert.  All are riveting. It was about 15 years ago when she was going through troubling times that I returned to the music of my childhood. There is something magical about the synergy created when voices sing together in harmony.  Every song a choir sings makes this world a better place.

Johanna Steper, Chorus Librarian  –   Johanna has sung with Ne’imah for 2 years, plus a couple of months the year before.  Previously she had not sung since attending high school, before her family moved to a different city.  A friend of hers asked her to join her in a singing group in the fall of 2016. She had thought that it would be a little senior citizens get together at the JCC.  Instead they went to B’nai Sholom where a skilled choir was meeting. Ne’imah is special for its high level of professionalism combined with a welcoming atmosphere.

Sofia Stolkarts, Vice President – Sofia’s family moved to the Capital Region from Chicago in 2012. Sofia had started singing in the Northwestern University Music Academy Chorus in 2007, and had planned on staying until they realized that the move was definitely happening. Once they were settled, she started looking for a community choir in the Capital Region – one that wouldn’t require an audition! She wrote an email to Alma, the chorus manager at the time, and she was very welcoming in her response. So, Sofia showed up at the first rehearsal in September 2012 and she is still singing and enjoying every minute of it. Every member of the choir is extremely dedicated to make each performance the best possible. Sofia enjoys each rehearsal, and really appreciate Anna’s warm-up exercises, which remind Sofia of voice lessons. The warmth and dedication of the rest of the choir combined with Anna’s skill as a leader make every performance by Ne’imah very memorable and special.


Alto Section

Deb Adler – Deb’s dad was a musician, so she sang from childhood, gathered around the piano with her family.  Deb hadn’t sung with a chorus in years, though, so she was happy to find Ne’imah several years ago. Retired after a career in communications, she now devotes time to drawing, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation, and singing. Deb is fortunate to have twin girls who are out in the world doing great things. She recommends Ne’imah to anyone who loves singing and fellowship!

Miriam Cooperman – Miriam has been singing with Ne’imah for over ten years. She was introduced to Ne’imah by invitation to a concert. Miriam finds listening to and singing Jewish music very inspirational and uplifting and feels honored to be part of such a wonderful group led and motivated by our talented music director and accompanist/assistant director. Our guest performers have been phenomenal. The one who stands out in her mind is Rabbi Solomon.

Sally Greenblatt, Board Secretary, Past President, Founding Member – After Sally’s husband, Matt, came home glowing from the first Ne’imah rehearsal during its inaugural season, he suggested that Sally give it a try and they have been singing together ever since. Sally asked Ne’imah’s founder, Rosemary Linsider, how she could help, and subsequently served as Chorus Librarian (with help from Matt) for 20 years.  After that, she was Co-President with Matt for 5 years, and has been the Board Secretary for 2 years. Over the years, Sally has met many wonderful people from all over the Capital District.  She has made new friends with a common bond of singing Jewish music. She has learned so much about Jewish music from our wonderful choral director, Anna Dubrova.  She has enjoyed meeting and singing with all our talented guest performers. All in all, Sally says being a member of Ne’imah has added another dimension to her life.

Ellen Kaplowitz – Ellen has been a member of Ne’imah Chorus since she and her husband came to the Capital District in 2001. For most of her life, Ellen has enjoyed singing with groups and presently is a member of three! Ellen derives a great deal of satisfaction while singing with this diversely talented and devoted group of singers. Anna, our knowledgeable and dedicated director and leader, along with our talented accompanist, Dan, are an undeniably “Dynamic Duo!” We all consolidate our skills, talents and enthusiasm in order to provide our audiences with fun musical moments. Ellen admits she often sneaks a look at those around her as we rehearse and love the intense and enthralling looks on their faces as we work through a new piece. The process of learning, growing musically and hearing our music emerge into a lovely performance through our combined efforts gives Ellen a great deal of pleasure.

Wendy Pyle, Treasurer – Wendy has enjoyed singing with Ne’imah for about 20 years. There is such a wide variety of Jewish music and it is so special to be a part of this group. Performing for the community is exciting because we can share our love for the music with the audience, and they appreciate that. We are so blessed to have a talented director and accompanist, who bring out the best in us. Wendy joined Ne’imah when we sang with Jeff Klepper at Agudat Achim and she has enjoyed every concert since then!

Martha “Martie” Teumim Martie has been singing all her life. Although Martie was in her high school chorus, most of her singing was done in the car – with or without her sister singing harmony.  In the early 2000’s, Ne’imah performed at her temple, B’nai Sholom. Martie’s friend Mari had suggested that she join; once she heard them sing, she was hooked! Martie attended her first rehearsal the very next day. Ne’imah is important to Martie in so many ways. She loves singing beautiful songs, the focus on the music is her way of meditating, and she treasures the companionship of the other members. Our guest artists are always diverse and interesting. It is such a pleasure to sing with them at our annual concerts. Martie’s husband, Phil, and their daughter, Rachel, volunteer at the concert each year, so it has become a family affair.

Pearl Weisinger – Pearl has been singing with Ne’imah for about 15 years. Her introduction to Ne’imah occurred when Sherry Kearns stood next to Pearl at a school function at which all the parents were asked to sing and the rest, as they say, is history! Ne’imah is special to Pearl because it provides her the opportunity to stretch her vocal cords and sing beautiful music with a great group of people. Pearl has enjoyed singing with guest artists and accompanists, particularly those who write good alto parts. Pearl sends love and thanks to Joe and Ben!


Tenor Section

Vladimir Ablin, Founding Member – Vladimir started to sing with the Ne’imah chorus from the very beginning. Vladimir was fascinated to discover a new world of Jewish music for himself and take advantage of the group’s leniency in not having a lot of singing experience. He has met so many really talented composers with different musical ideas and it makes him feel closer to new areas of Jewish culture. Also he has the pleasure to sing in the company of so many dedicated and interesting people, sharing a love of music.

Moe Auster – Moe has been singing with the Ne’imah choir as a tenor for 4 years.   Participation with Ne’imah has enabled Moe to sing beautiful songs, connect with his spiritual roots, and perform with enormously talented guest artists, all the while learning from Anna how to improve his singing ability.  Moe also recently performed in several local community theater productions, including Mamma Mia, Parade, High School Musical, Annie, Newsies and Hairspray, and has performed in area cabaret productions. When Moe is not acting, singing, running or being the Uber for his daughters, he is the Senior VP and Chief Legislative Counsel for the Medical Society of the State of NY.  Moe would like to thank his daughters Abby and Hailey, whose own musical aspirations helped to re-ignite his passion for singing, and his wife Martha for managing real life while he chases his Broadway dreams.

Dr. Marc Hecker, Past President, Founding Member – Marc sang with Ne’imah as a tenor starting in 1993 and took a few years off.  Anna Dubrova’s direction is the closest experience that many members have had in professional voice training. Marc also plays classical and folk guitar and sing at numerous area venues. Marc reads Torah and occasionally lead services at Ohav Shalom. His late father-in-law, Cantor Daniel Chick, recommended Anna to Ne’imah founder, Rosemary Linsider, and the rest is history. Marc’s favorite concerts were the 10th anniversary in 2002 with Zamir Chorale of Boston and our 27th concert in 2019 with Kim and Reggie Harris and Rabbi Jonathan Kligler as guests.

Dr. Bob Kaslovsky, Founding Member – Bob’s love of Jewish music dates back to high school, when he would lead services for USY. During college, Bob taught bar-mitzvah lessons and was a leader of services for Hillel at Union College. During medical school, Bob was asked to lead High Holiday services at Congregation Ohav Shalom, which he still continues today. After his kids were born, he played piano and sang with them as they got older. When Ne’imah started, Bob was part of the inaugural season, and with the exception of a few years we lived out of the area, he has been a member consistently. Bob sang with Makelah during his three years in Springfield, Mass. Bob’s favorite guest performer was Ruth Pelham, as singing her music brings back fond memories of playing her music and listening and singing with his children and grandchildren. He appreciates the leadership and teaching from Anna, who works tirelessly to ensure our success.


Bass Section

Stephen Ableman – As a member of Ne’imah, Steve enjoys the experience of expressing his Jewish faith in music. With his background as a music educator in New York, singing is natural to him. As an organist, Steve has served a local church for over forty years. Joining Ne’imah has been fun and he enjoys the many new friends he has in the chorus.

Josh Cooper-Ginsburg, VP of Social Media and Past President – Josh’s first spoken words were also the first words of The Beatles’ song, “Good Night,” so you might say music has been a big part of his life for a long time. Having sung in choruses since he put down the trombone, (an instrument bigger than a nine-year-old,) Josh has been proud to join his voice with others in his community, in joyous song. After graduating from UAlbany in 2010, Josh searched for and was so glad to have found the perfect chorus to represent the Jewish communities of upstate New York. We have performed with amazing and talented singers, such as Cantor Meir Finkelstein, Cantor Alberto Mizrahi, Cantor Elias Rosemberg, Rabbi Noam Katz, and Rabbi Jonathan Kligler with Kim and Reggie Harris. Special thanks to Anna and Dan; Josh’s very sweet husband, Eric; and our near and extended family, for their love and support.

Matt Greenblatt, Board Member, Past President, Founding Member – In the winter of 1991-’92, Rosemary Linsider discussed with Matt her idea to create a Jewish chorus in the Capital Region. The chorus started the fall of 1992; Matt went to that first rehearsal, and he and his wife Sally have been members and active in the chorus’ operation ever since. In Matt’s years with Ne’imah, he has learned not only great singing techniques, but also things about Jewish history, music history, and the many technical aspects of running a volunteer organization. Anna Dubrova, our Conductor and Artistic Director, with the help of our piano accompanists, teaches us so many things Matt can best sum up as great art. He and Sally enjoy singing with Ne’imah very much and have made many friends and acquaintances through the chorus, many since its inception, resulting in growth of the greater Albany Jewish community.