In 1948 a little girl 7 years old came to America with her mother and father on the Queen Mary with hundreds of other refugees. Nearing the shores of New York, she saw a tiny statue in the water. Everyone on the boat became very quiet and started softly singing prayers of gratitude, kneeling down to kiss the ground. The little girl couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful statue. As they got closer and closer, it seemed as if this beautiful woman with a wand so tall and strong was smiling at her and was saying something good to her. It reminded her of when her father threw her over the barbwire fence in 1944 at the Swiss border, looking up to the heavens he said, “Save my daughter and she will always serve you.” This little girl always knew in her heart her destiny had been chosen. Believing fervently that we are all connected, visionary Cantor Estherleon, for many years, has been bringing all faiths and cultures together for a deeper understanding of each other.

Poverty has a particularly strong meaning to Estherleon. A child Holocaust survivor, she has endured the poverty of food, shelter, safety and thoughts when she was on the run from the Nazi’s for the first 4 years of her life finally escaping in 1944 to Switzerland. Sheltered by nuns in convents through parts of this period, she didn’t realize until now that the DNA of the church music would ultimately play a big role in the Jewish music she sings as a cantor. Her gifted and compassionate voice has been chronicled in numerous testimonials.

Life’s challenges saw her rise from welfare to riches, which she gave up, after a family tragedy. She became a Cantor, a female in a male’s world. She survived that, then decided “Against all odds” (CCN News) to take her administering to the people, founding 3 storefront spiritual reading rooms for all people, religions and cultures, in the process creating Beth Shirah (House of Song). She has always seen challenges as a gift to the higher spirit echoing the survival of her earliest years. She is now welcomed by the Buddhist at the Hsi Lai Temple, the Baha’i Faith the Braille Institute and healing centers. She tirelessly administers to the sick through her voice, as a volunteer Para-Chaplain at a renowned hospital in Los Angeles. Voices of Hope is her dedication to the immense insurmountable challenges to see the end of poverty in her lifetime. Her music, and poetry will bring people into the fold of caring, through nurturing and compassion. Her determination is unshakable.

The children are our future, what better way to receive than to give them life through our deepest caring. Their poverty is our poverty, and our shame. We have to listen to their voices of hope.


I am very grateful to have the honor of fulfilling my father’s prophesy in 1944 at the Swiss border when the Nazis were chasing us. I was 4 years old and when he threw me over the barbed wire fence he said, “Save my daughter and she will serve you forever.” It has been a painful, tiring yet inspirational journey in reaching my goal to have a deeper understanding of myself, my purpose in life, in relationship to the world around me. One thing I always hung on to were my father’s words of serving, so I “hung out” with God, asked for guidance, tried to have patience and faith which gave me hope and wisdon to understand that everything is in divine time. You are my voice of hope on earth to ensure that no human being goes to bed hungry, has a warm bed to sleep in, medicine, education, a fruitful and meaningful life, and a way to peace – in a peaceful way. Together, and with God’s blessings…everything is possible.

Cantor Estherleon Schwartz