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Artist in Residence: Joshua Nelson

Friday, December 8, 2017 20 Kislev 5778

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Next Day3330 Grove Ave

Public Events


SNOWSTORM UPDATE!  All events will go on as scheduled!

6 pm Service  
featuring music by Joshua Nelson

7 pm Catered Dinner & Panel Discussion
$18 per person  DINNER IS SOLD OUT
The Universal Language: Understanding Race & Religion through Music

Joshua Nelson
Dr. Samaneh Oladi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at VCU
Dr. Archana A. Pathak, Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at VCU
Erin Rose, Worship & Teaching Pastor, East End Fellowship
Moderator: Hazzan Marian Turk, Cantor, Temple Beth-El

Concert 7 pm  (ADVANCE TICKET SALES ARE NOW CLOSED) $25 at the door

Workshop for Religious School students

Joshua Nelson was born and raised Jewish.  His upbringing included the study of judaism, including a two-year college and kibbutz program in Israel.  His education clarified his understanding that throughout history, Jews had always integrated Jewish law and religious practices with the cultural context in which they lived. For example, any ethnic style of cuisine can be Jewish if it is kosher.

Upon his return from Israel, Nelson began to apply this understanding to music, beginning what has been called “a revolution in Jewish music” by combining Jewish liturgical lyrics with one of America’s best-known indigenous musical forms; thus "kosher gospel music" was born.  For Joshua Nelson, kosher gospel is a way to claim both parts of his identity as a Black Jew.

When Joshua was eight, he discovered an album by Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, in his grandparents’ record collection, and he fell in love with her singing.  During his teens and early twenties, he became widely celebrated as a gospel singer continuing the Jackson’s legacy. 

For his audiences, whatever their faith or heritage, kosher gospel has been a revelation. Now in his early thirties, Nelson has performed around the world, for Presidents, congregations, major music festivals—and for Oprah, who named him a “Next Big Thing.”  He has produced a stellar album, Mi Chamocha, sung with stars from Aretha Franklin to the Klezmatics, and was the subject of the acclaimed documentary film Keep on Walking.  Nelson also shares his musical gift as an artist in residence at Jewish congregations across the country, including his home synagogue of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, a Reform congregation in South Orange, New Jersey where he taught Hebrew School for 15 years. Whatever the venue, Joshua Nelson brings people and cultures together in joyous song.


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