PHOTOS: Jewish leaders converge for ‘bootcamp’ at the J


Bill Motchan

The Songleader Boot Camp (SLBC) National Conference returned to St. Louis over the weekendfor its first in-person gathering since 2020. The leadership training gathering for Jewish clergy, educators, camp staff and song leaders was presented as a virtual conference for the past two years. The 2023 version offered both in-person and virtual segments. Rick Recht and Rabbi Brad Horwitz founded SLBC in 2009.

Recht said enthusiasm among attendees was high to return to a post-pandemic in-person event. 

“People are thrilled but they’re also relieved,” Recht said. “There is a giant collective exhale and appreciation to be physically together and to share this learning and this healing and this celebration together.”

The 2023 Songleader Boot Camp drew nearly 500 participants. Attendees included clergy, Jewish educators, religious and day school teachers, family engagement and early childhood specialists, teen leaders, Jewish camping staff, and songleaders. They gathered to learn a holistic approach to leadership through music. During day two of the conference on Feb. 20, song and dance filled the meeting rooms and hallways of the JCC’s Staenberg Family Complex.