Jewish Journal

After the choir

by Danielle Berrin

January 14, 2008 | 1:19 pm

As a follow up to Friday’s plug to “get a lil gospel,”  it must be said that it was as expected, sensational. Not just because it drew in the energy of 1400 or so people who came to hear the COR choir raise the roof (though they did), nor was it the Rev. Mark Whitlock’s polemical address emphatically declaring that Moses deserves an altar equal to that of Jesus’ (though he did), and it wasn’t the usual delight of singing your way into Sabbath surrounded by tradition (though the occasion was marked by emblems of the past, remembered). The magic happened somewhere in between—the amalgam of ingredients adding up to a delicacy.

For me the moment arrived somewhere in the middle of the excitement when I realized the power and magnitude of what was happening: Jews cheering for a pastor like they were fans; a predominantly black choir crooning “Hinei Matov” like a pop song; a gracious rabbi loaning his bimah to a new and different voice. Among all those elements, it became clear that two communities who worship differently really want the same things, and standing side by side in support of one another brings them closer to those dreams.

In a polarizing world where we’re always cajoled into choosing sides - right or wrong, black or white, Democrat or Republican, Jew or Muslim, East or West, there is a great spiritual strength in feeling unity, in being as one.

(art by Monica Stewart)

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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