ISSN 1538-1080

OH MY GOD! Exploring Ecstatic Experience Through the Evocative Technology of Gospel Choir

OH MY GOD! Exploring Ecstatic Experience Through the Evocative Technology of Gospel Choir

Whats a nice Jewish girl doing writing and teaching about gospel singing!? Originally from Los Angeles, California, I am a product of a Conservative Jewish education and have spent almost 40 years at the forefront of the Jewish Renewal movement as a community organizer, teacher, vocalist, and visionary.

My professional path has been that of a somatic psychotherapist and spiritual midwife. I use body-psychotherapy, massage, and vocal, breath and energy work to encourage fellow travelers to free up expression of their life energy in order to ascend towards experiences of the divine.
Singing IS my spiritual path; my way to open to the divine. Over the years I have learned that the voice is a sacred reflector and transformer of energy; more so when combined with other voices; and even more so when combined with rhythmic movement. While living in Boulder, in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to learn the power of the voice as a sacred tool of expression from workshops offered through Naropa University, with such luminaries as Susan Osborne, Ysaye Barnwell, and Jonathan Goldman.
I came to explore gospel singing out of my fascination for the biophysics and spirituality of ecstatic altered state experience. I chose gospel choir as the focus of my research because this musical form is the most ecstatic choral modality I have ever experienced. Since 2003, as a result of studying the techniques used in gospel choir performance, I have been presenting ecstatic choir workshops in the US, England, Israel, Holland, Germany, and Switzerland. In 2004, I received ordination from Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi as a Baalat Shirei Hamaalot Bchesed Elyon (literally, Mistress of songs of ascent to the realm of divine grace), a Conductor of Ecstatic Chorales. I did most of this research while living in Basel, Switzerland, where I raised my daughter, who has integrated this material as her own.
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