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Best of both traditions combined to create unique sound

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Though the Liberated Wailing Wall has been bringing Jewish gospel music for over 30 years, the concept may still be foreign to some. For one, gospel music is largely associated with Christianity. But this music, described as a combination of Israeli folk and "Fiddler on the Roof," has found international success thanks to the group, which has created 12 albums since they started in the 1970s singing on the street corners of San Francisco.

On June 26 at 7 p.m., the group of traveling missionaries will bring their unique program of music, drama and testimony to Faith Tabernacle Church in East Longmeadow.

Members of Jews for Jesus wanted to set their Jewishness with a message of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah to a blend of harmony and rhythm. What resulted is a music program that includes the use of piano, guitar, violin and a dunbek (a Middle Eastern drum). Woven into their music are also personal testimonies of how they came to believe Jesus is the Messiah.

Faith Tabernacle Administrative Pastor Joe Kaye, who is responsible for bringing the group, said it promises to be an enjoyable evening.

"Some do instruments, some just vocals. There are just five to seven on the team. The sound is very Hebraic, most of the words of the songs that have been written and recorded are right from the Bible," Kaye said.

Kaye, who currently is a member of predominately Christian congregation, has an interesting perspective since he had a Jewish upbringing.

"I can speak personally. I was brought up Jewish. When some of the scripture was really brought to my attention, I was searching just about life and where do I come from. What's this world really all about?" Kaye shared. "I started seeing some things in [scripture] that were fulfilled to me ... I haven't turned away from Judaism, but I finally found a place where I can really [connect it all]."

He has been familiar with the Liberated Wailing Wall for many years. In fact, his daughter has been a member of the group in the past. Since the members of the group alternate, in all, there have been up to 120 members. According to their Web site, many have gone on to serve on the Jews for Jesus staff.

Members of Faith Tabernacle are hoping members of the community will come out to listen to the group as they make a stop in town during the Northeast portion of their 18-month tour. Current members span the United States and include Amy Beck, soprano vocalist, Ariel Wasson, alto vocalist, pianist; Charity Zaidman, soprano vocalist; Dan Herman, tenor vocalist; Josh Brodt, tenor vocalist, guitarist, team leader; Mark Fischer, sound engineer and tour bus driver; Mike Chadwick, baritone/bass vocalist, pianist; and Morgan Nilsen, clarinet player and alto vocalist.

Faith Tabernacle Church is located at 11 Kibbe Rd. To hear a sample of the Liberated Wailing Wall's music, visit