Educators who love rap and live dangerously in the classroom.
Coming from a legacy of both Artists and Rabbis*, Dvir Cahana integrates both as an educator for Rappers and Rabbis and as the founder of The Amen Institute.
His rap career began at 12 years old around his family’s Seder Table when he performed a Battle Rap between Moses and Pharoh. As he matured, so did his rap. He eventually produced 8 albums of his own (see here and here) and performed on stages across North America including Sababa Fest and the End of the Weak. He became a Battle Rap champion. Even when proposing to his wife, Dvir got on one knee and sang a rap to her.
When the pandemic began and further isolated the vulnerable, Dvir thought of his father – wholesome in his heart, rigorous in his mind, yet bedridden as a stroke survivor. He created an outlet for his father: Dvir scribed his father’s dvar torah; his sister made an art piece; then Dvir rapped a song. Together, this project was called Bezallel Koli. This project eventually morphed into The Amen Institute, an international space where artists and rabbis gather and “art is informed by Torah and Torah is formed in art.” Dvir was awarded the “36 Under 36 Award” from the Jewish Week for this groundbreaking work.
Since beginning rabbinical school, it’s been even more meaningful to now teach Torah through rap – so Rappers and Rabbis, naturally, felt like the most wonderful place to do this.
Dvir’s role as the rabbinic educator for Rappers and Rabbis is twofold: (a) the rappers who participate in the Rappers and Rabbis community and (b) creating resources and workshops for the greater Jewish community.
The rappers in Rappers and Rabbis range widely in religious background, observance, and Jewish knowledge. Dvir creates a framework so everyone in the collective can meaningfully engage in Jewish learning. This work happens at bi-annual retreats and regular zooms.
As for the greater community – Dvir has represented Rappers and Rabbis as an educator in many forums. For example, Dvir has run Hip Hop Tefillah sessions at several BBYO conventions – teaching teens how to rap their way through prayer. He ran another at the Foundation for Jewish Camp Leaders Assembly and also as the Camp Rabbi at Camp Yavneh’s family camp.
Dvir will complete his rabbinic studies at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in spring of 2024.
*Artists in his family include his grandmother Alice Lok Cahana - holocaust artist, father Rabbi Ronnie Cahana - poet, and sister Kitra Cahana - photo journalist. He comes from a lineage of rabbis; his grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Cahana was a Santzer Chossid from Tzfat turned Zionist then civil rights activist while serving as a rabbi in the Conservative movement in Houston, TX. His father was also a pulpit rabbi in communities around the globe.
Adam Mayer is a teacher of Torah and Jewish wisdom. Rabbi Adam Mayer joined the faculty of Kohelet Yeshiva in 2014 from Jerusalem, where he received a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Studies from Pardes Institute and an M.A. in Jewish Education and Certificate in Jewish Day School Education from Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Education.
He received semicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechamia Goldberg and his B.A. from Brandeis University, graduating with honors in his double major of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Hebrew Language and Literature. Rabbi Mayer served in the IDF and has been teaching Judaic Studies since 2003.