By March 4, 2015 Read More →

UnpluggedView – Sunday Afternoons at CBS

Unplugged View
Renewal Weekend

By Tina Arnopole Driskill

The second weekend in March sees a very special weekend hosted by Sunday Afternoons at CBS and Congregation Beth Shalom, as they present Jewish Renewal 101, a three-day program of music and mysticism held at 1705 Sherwood Ave.

Jewish Renewal refers to an emerging movement which describes itself as “a worldwide, transdenominational movement grounded in Judaism’s prophetic and mystical traditions.” Jewish Renewal brings kabbalistic and Hasidic theory and practice into a non-Orthodox, egalitarian framework, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as neo-Hasidism. Like Hasidic Jews, Renewal Jews often add to traditional worship ecstatic practices such as meditation, chant and dance. In augmenting Jewish ritual, some Renewal Jews borrow freely and openly from Buddhism, Sufism and other faiths. The Jewish Renewal movement also incorporates social views such as feminism, environmentalism and pacifism.

Cantorial soloist Jessica Leash has the inspirational voice of an angel with the power to soar above a thousand other singers. Throughout this weekend she will explore the world of Jewish Renewal music and share the beauty of inspirational and educational genres from around the world. All programs are open to the Modesto Community.

Friday 3/6, 7 pm: Jessica will lead evening services in the Renewal style, including a related Drash (message).

Saturday 3/7, 10 am: Jessica will co-lead morning services and a Torah discussion focused on Renewal approaches and content. A kiddish luncheon will follow at 11:30. Lunch reservations requested at 571-6060. Then at 1 pm: ‘Jewish Singing in 4 Easy Steps’: Jessica will lead a workshop for singers and non-singers alike. No experience needed – everyone will leave whistling a happy tune.

Sunday 3/8, 3 pm: ‘Jewish Renewal – A Musical Portrait’: at the final concert of the Sunday Afternoons at CBS 2014-15 season, Jessica will feature a snapshot of the times in which Jewish Renewal came to be, some of its influences, and a taste of what Renewal music brings to contemporary Jewish life. She will perform a unique global mix of popular folk songs from the 60’s and 70’s, some gospel, Hassidic niggunim, a group of Yiddish songs, Shlomo Carlebach tunes, some call-and-response chants, and Reform Jewish tunes by Debbie Friedman. She will be accompanied by Fred Ross-Perry on guitar and Ken Mowrey on percussion. Information can be found at and Concert tickets can be purchased through the CBS website, from the CBS office, at 571-6060 on weekdays, or at the door.

Modesto Unplugged presents its new Center Stage Unplugged concert series starting this month. Quality acoustic music in many different genres will be featured on Sunday evenings at Center Stage Conservatory, 948 11th St., starting at 6:30 PM. $10 admission for all concerts unless otherwise noted. March schedule: 3/8, Americana/rock groups KCDC and Midnight Mover; 3/15, accomplished songwriters Jackie Bristow and Anthony Edwards; 3/22, award-winning country/Americana outfit Frankie Boots & The County Line, and popular central valley outfit The Dustbowl Children. A different visual artist from the Modesto area will also have work on display at each showcase.

Saturday 3/7 – folk and Americana tunes with locals Bethany Joseph, Randy Mandy Band and Ryan Russell. 8 PM at Prospect Theater, 1214 K St. $7.

Saturday 3/21 – the MJC Community Orchestra will perform the music of Johann Sebastian Bach as part of a worldwide celebration of the composer’s 330th birthday. The orchestra will occupy the 10th St. Plaza starting at 11:30 am. Free event.

Saturday 3/28 – Old-Time Barn and Contra Dance in downtown Merced. The event features a live old-time string band and caller. Leave those big foo-foo square dance dresses at home. This will be old school just like gramps used to do before electric guitars and indoor plumbing. No host bar. Live music. Free. 7-9pm at Legion Hall, 939 W Main St., Merced. Contact<> or 209-658-3852 for more information.



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