In what promises to be a truly unique event, Kosher gospel singer Joshua Nelson and his ensemble will perform gospel music at an Artist-in-Residence weekend at Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill from March 28-29. The African-American singer also happens to be an observant Jew, who can track his Jewish heritage back to his mother's great-grandmother in Africa.
Often compared to the late great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, whose record albums inspired him, he has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show, and was proclaimed by Time Magazine as one of the top ten new Jewish musicians in 2013. Today, Nelson and his ensemble perform at synagogues and other venues worldwide.
While studying in Israel, the self-proclaimed “Prince of kosher Gospel” began what has been called “a revolution in Jewish music” by combining Jewish religious lyrics and meanings with the soulful sounds of American gospel music. The result is an exciting collection of pre-slavery soul melodies that originated in West Africa. As Nelson says, “I try to make music so the listener will hear something and feel it as well.''
The community is invited to hear him at Shabbat services on Friday, March 28 at 6:30 pm, which will be followed by a Benefactor Dinner Reception at 8:00 pm for donors only. On March 29 a luncheon and discussion will be held, and admission is $15. The public is invited to Havdalah services and a concert at 7:30 pm, followed by an elaborate dessert reception for $25. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. A luncheon/ concert/dessert combo is available for $36, and requires advance reservations by March 18 to M’kor Shalom at 856-424-4220 or by registering at www.mkorshalom.org .
The events are all part of the synagogue’s 40th birthday celebration, and will be held at M’kor Shalom, 850 Evesham Road, Cherry Hill, NJ. This program is underwritten with the generous support Helen & Leon Weinberg Scholar-in-Residence Endowment Fund and a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation.