The Torah may be the true Gospel, but next week, one synagogue is bringing the true Gospel to the Torah.
Temple Aliyah will host its Fourth Annual Gospel Service on Jan. 18, in cooperation with the choir of New Christ Memorial Church of God and Christ of Pacoima, led by Pastor Andrae Crouch, a Grammy Award-winning composer. Neil Brostoff, Aliyah's musical director, and Chazzan Mike Stein will work with Crouch to put together the unique musical program.
The point of the service is "to find common ground in prayer in our communities and to share our worship," said Rabbi Stuart Vogel, spiritual leader at the Woodland Hills synagogue, site of the service. "While some synagogues will hold a regular service and invite the gospel choir to do a performance piece, we really weave the gospel performance into the service."
Christ Memorial Church goes to great lengths to make the Jewish contingency comfortable with the gospel songs it performs, Vogel said. For example, overt references to Jesus Christ are removed.
"It takes a great deal of sensitivity on their part," Vogel said. "It takes a lot of trust."
Traditionally, the service is held around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday (Jan. 21), as it will be this year. Based on last year's turnout, the event's organizers are expecting approximately 800-1,000 people at the co-denominational choir celebration.
"We deliver a message of relationships," Vogel said.
The Temple Aliyah-New Christ Memorial Church Gospel Service will be held Jan. 18 at 8:15 p.m. For more information, call (818)346-3545.