The summer before entering sixth grade, I joined a youth choir. On the first day, we received a folder filled with the music that we would be singing. I looked it over and immediately spotted a possible problem. That night at dinner, I raised it with my parents. I explained, “There’s a lot of Jesus in the music.” I didn’t how they would respond. My father is a rabbi, and I grew up in a committed Jewish home. Christian liturgical music was not entirely foreign to me, as my dad often did pulpit exchanges with other clergy in town. Still, I didn’t exactly know what to make of singing it myself.
My parents asked me how I felt about it, and I wasn’t sure. After much deliberation, my father finally said, “Some of the most important and beautiful music was written for Christian worship. Try it! You will learn something new, you will learn more about yourself, and you will be part of creating something beautiful.”
I was reminded of this conversation during my time at the annual conference of The Young Clergy Women Project in Boston this July. When I registered, I was simultaneously welcomed and forewarned. I was told that I should certainly feel comfortable joining the conference, and that this conference is Christian in orientation. I had a moment of hesitation, wondering what it would feel like to be the only rabbi in a predominantly Christian space. I decided to attend. I was initially attracted by the concept of “Leading with Presence” and was eager to learn with Susan Beaumont. While the learning was excellent, I was most deeply moved by being part of the community. Read more