March 22, 2012 |
On the other end of the phone line, Joshua Nelson is breaking into a traditional cantorial rendition of "Adon Olom , " the Hebrew prayer that ends most Shabbat morning services. In an instant, your whole childhood sitting in synagogue emerges vividly in deep, operatic vibrato. There's no doubt that Nelson - an African American Jew who traces his Jewish roots to Senegal and Romania - can do 15th-century traditional singing. But then he ramps into his own version of "Adon Olom , " in a style he calls "kosher gospel" - drawn from his devotion to both old-fashioned Mahalia Jackson-style gospel and traditional Jewish worship - and a whole new world of spiritual reckoning comes into being.
March 6, 2012 |
Philip Barrett of Philadelphia works two jobs, but he doesn't want that to be his life. In February, battling stress, he withdrew from Towson University in Maryland, but he hopes to return to college. Marcy Allen of Salem, N.J., graduated from college in 2010 with degrees in theater and French, but the only employment she could find was as a part-time mail carrier - the job she held the summer after her freshman year at Rider University. The two, both in their 20s and navigating unexpected bumps in life, have found solace and strength in a Wednesday night Bible study group in Camden led by a man whose own youthful charisma, they say, is part of the attraction.
February 15, 2012 |
NEWARK, N.J. - Whitney Houston's funeral will be held Saturday in the church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child, her family choosing to remember her in a private service rather than in a large event at an arena. The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home said Tuesday that the funeral would be at noon at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, which seats up to 1,500. Gospel singer Marvin Winans, a Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend, had been chosen to give the eulogy, his son said.
February 13, 2012 |
At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, seeking theological underpinning for his drive to raise taxes on the rich, President Obama invoked the highest possible authority. His policy, he testified "as a Christian," "coincides with Jesus' teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.' " Now, I'm no theologian, but I'm fairly certain that neither Jesus nor his rabbinic forebears, when speaking of giving, meant some obligation to the state. You tithe the priest, not the tax man. The Judeo-Christian tradition commands personal generosity, as represented, for example, by the biblical injunction against retrieving any sheaf left behind while harvesting one's own field.
February 5, 2012
Pop Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It . . . (Thirty Tigers ***) Georgia-born, Philadelphia-based songwriter Adam Arcuragi calls his ramshackle folk-rock "death gospel" and makes no attempt to disguise his seriousness of purpose on his third full-length album. Like A Fire . . . shares a name with Arcuragi's favorite Cy Twombly painting, the beautiful red blot that is part of the late artist's Iliad -inspired series of paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and one of its songs, "Riverrun," takes its title from the first word of James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake . Sometimes Arcuragi's throaty vocals and impassioned strumming can be rough going, but for the most part, the spirited and spiritually minded, highly articulate racket he kicks up with his band the Lupine Chorale Society is effective at both stirring the blood and stimulating the mind.
January 16, 2012
By Craig Fehrman Rick Santorum's near-miss in Iowa provided a reminder that, for many Republican voters (and not a few candidates), religion and politics overlap. If you need another reminder, though, consider this: The Smithsonian has restored and put on display a weird and fantastic 19th-century book known as the "Jefferson Bible. " That's Jefferson as in Thomas, and this private, personal document offers a useful case study in how politics and Christianity have mixed it up in American history, right up to today.
January 13, 2012 |
OYFUL NOISE," sort of a "Glee!"-meets-gospel-music choral-competition musical, makes a pleasant-enough racket. A cheerful, not-quite-off-color crowd-pleaser that rarely breaks formula, it's the big-screen equivalent of a sloppy smooch from your overaffectionate aunt over the holidays. You grimace. You stand there and take it. And you don't let anybody see you grin afterward. Writer-director Todd Graff, who specializes in this sort of cheerful, campy musical ("Bandslam," "Camp")
January 6, 2012 |
Brian Ott shivered or sweltered during services, depending on the season, when Hope Christian Fellowship, the church led by his brother Mark, shared a 1962 Woodbury synagogue building owned by Beth Israel Congregation. Ott, a mechanical engineer, said it reminded him of his youth, when he attended school in an old building that was once part of a missile-defense complex. "We went to Gloucester County Christian School, and that was built on an old Nike site in Pitman. No one in the 1960s worried about efficiency, and the buildings were impossible to heat or cool correctly," said Brian Ott. "But now we live in different times.
January 1, 2012 |
NEW YORK - It's easy to roll your eyes at Joyful Noise, a broad-stroke dramedy about a small-town gospel choir struggling for greatness. Easy, that is, until the song "Man in the Mirror" kicks in. It's only a few minutes into the movie, as the choir at Divinity Church in impoverished Pacashau, Ga., is still reeling from the death of its longtime director (a briefly glimpsed Kris Kristofferson). The appointment of his longtime second-in-command, a mother of two played by Queen Latifah, over his widow (Dolly Parton)
December 14, 2011 |
DINA MARIE TURCHI'S parents didn't always want to know what she was up to. Like jumping out of airplanes. Her mother, Marie, doesn't even know where her daughter did her skydiving. All she knows is that when Dina invited her mother and her little niece Briana to watch her parachute from the sky, her mother said, "No way. " In addition to not wanting to see her child risk her life for thrills, she didn't want Briana, then about 3, to witness the feat because "she might want to do it. " Dina Marie Turchi packed a lot of living into a tragically short life.