Bringing Conservative Voices Together

When she learned the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Centennial Conference was to be held in Baltimore, a light went on in Shoshana Harris’ head. Harris, who sings in Beth Israel Congregation’s choir, Shirat HaLev, as well as Chizuk Amuno Congregation’s a cappella choir, Kol Rinah, thought the conference presented a great opportunity for singers from the two conservative congregational choirs to perform together.

“I had the vision because I personally get so much personal and spiritual gratification from both choirs,” said Harris, a member of BIC.

“I wrote a proposal and submitted it through the Jewish Conservative Movement magazine’s website and got a positive response from the organizers almost immediately,” she said. Then Harris approached Kol Rinah’s director, Evan Tucker, to ask him for permission to invite members of Shirat HaLev at BIC to join Kol Rinah for a performance at the conference.

In the end, said Harris, only three members from the BIC choir were able to join Kol Rinah, but Harris believes this may lead to more collaboration. In fact, on Nov. 13, members of both choirs will perform at BIC’s annual fall sisterhood dinner.

“It has enriched the choir, and they [the BIC members] come out of our joint rehearsals on cloud nine,” she said. “I love the idea of this model.

We often stay in our own worlds. It’s good to put our egos aside and come together.”

Harris believes that music a pathway for accessing greater spirituality.

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