a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Exciting Things Happening in NYC

Posted on: May 14, 2011

I hope everyone is having a good Shabbat.  I am not quite at 100% Shabbat observance, hence writing on my blog.  My goal is that at the one year mark of my Jewish Journey, the High Holy Days-I will have full Shabbat observance.  It’s a difficult goal to achieve for pure logistical reasons, I work retail.  If you have ever worked retail or if you ever shop you know that Saturdays are the busiest days to shop.  It will be a challenge, to say the least.

At any rate, I’m heading to work in a few hours but did attend service last night at CBE to hear my buddy Noah and his band lead service musically.  Brooklyn Jews, an organization here in NYC held a Shabbat dinner afterwards and Rabbi Mark really got into the service in a joyful way.  I love Shabbat services like that.  Shabbat service where the music moves people, the message of the Torah moves people, and when people really get into it.  Thank you Noah Aronson and Brooklyn Jews for a great service.

There are a few fun things coming up this week and next.  I promise to get back to writing more frequently as well.

1. Noah has a CD coming out at the end of this month!  An entire album of his wonderful interpretations of Jewish songs.  One of my conversion classmates and I were talking on the train after class on Wednesday about how some Reform services remind us of Catholic services.  I remember reading some where that the style of praying, especially in Reform and Conservative shuls were definitely modeled after Christian counterparts here in the US.  So much assimilation happened and unfortunately, for converts like me I do sometimes feel like I’m sitting in Mass-Except when I’m listening to Noah’s music.

His style of music is beautiful and makes you want to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, as the Psalm instructs us to do.  Kabbalat Shabbat service is the Joyful Shabbat-why are people sitting down and being observers of the service rather than being actively involved in the service.  I’d argue that if synagogues want to get Jews in the Pews they would be smart to adopt Noah’s style of music.  I can’t help but think of Sister Act when Whoopi Goldberg’s character added do-whop to the hymns and more and more people showed up for Mass.  It was a movie but the point is clear-you have to adapt to keep people, young people especially engaged in their Judaism or they will become complacent.

The young people in shul last night totally dug Noah and as always a few older Jewish women and men with kippah atop their heads really got into it.  I tried not to see their hip sways and bopping as awkward and instead loved that they were engaged. 😉  I will be having an interview with Noah soon (hopefully) on video and perhaps get him to sing.  As soon as the album is released on iTunes, I will spread the word and you should buy it.

2.  Nehirim an LGBTQ Jewish organization is holding a reading and discussion about the book “Keep Your Wives Away From Them-Orthodox Women Unorthodox Desires” written by Goldie Goldbloom, who I’ll be interviewing for Jewcy on the 24th. and edited by Miryam Kabakov.  The discussion will be held in Riverdale, NY in an Orthodox shul.  If you are in NYC on Monday May 16th I strongly urge you to attend.  I will be there and hope to see you there too!


Good Shabbos


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