If you have a picture in your mind of what a Yiddish singing star should look like, you will be sorely surprised at Anthony Russell, a new face in the world of Yiddish music. Russell, 33, is a 6-foot-1 African American from Oakland, who, according to a press release, is “a Jew by choice, an opera singer by training and a Yiddish singer by calling.”
You can see and hear Russell in concert at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Bertha Abess Sanctuary of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St. in downtown Miami’s Arts and Entertainment district. The concert is presented by the Winter Jewish Music Concert, of which Alan Mason is music director. He will accompany Russell, whose program will include a variety of Yiddish songs, African-American spirituals and other selections.
Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell (his full stage name), a convert to Judaism, made his professional debut with the San Francisco Opera Company in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera Appomattox. In the past decade, he has sung with various opera companies in the San Francisco Bay area and the New York City area. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his partner of five years, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.
According to the press release, over the past year, Russell has gained attention as the new voice of Yiddish songs. Since then, he has performed Yiddish songs in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Northern California. Sunday’s performance will be his first in the Southeast. General admission is $18 and sponsorship tickets are $36 each through Brown Paper Tickets.
For tickets and more information call 800-838-3006 or go to the Winter Jewish Music Concert website at: JewishConcert.org.
Opa-locka mayor receives honorary degree
Warm congratulations to my friend and Opa-locka Mayor Myra L. Taylor, who recently was honored for her "service to God and the community," at graduation ceremonies at the Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary. Taylor received an honorary doctorate in divinity.
At the ceremony, Ray VanderWal director of the seminary’s North Miami Beach campus said, "We are privileged to bestow this honor upon Mayor Taylor for her distinguished service to her community, outstanding achievements in humanities, public affairs, education, Christian faith affiliation, and unwavering service to mankind."
Jimmy Burke, a professor at the seminary said Taylor “looks for ways to relate to people, which makes her successful working in a Christian community. The institution wanted to recognize her for excelling in the community."
Taylor has been married for 45 years to Bishop John H. Taylor. In 1978, the couple established the Vankara Educational Center in Opa-locka and co-founded The New beginning Embassy of Praise, also in Opa-locka. They are the parents of eight children and many grandchildren.
The Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary has had a campus in South Florida for over 20 years. Many of its graduates serve as ministers and Christian activists in the South Florida community. This year, 35 students graduated in the commencement ceremonies at the Miami Shores Baptist Church.
Church aims for a thrilling Bible school
Gateway Baptist Church, 6500 SW 97th Ave., invites the community to is Vacation Bible School from 6:30 to 9 p.m., June 10-14.
The event will feature a Colossal Coaster World at the church, where children ages 4 through fifth grade can experience the "thrill and excitement" of a day at a theme park. Grades six through 12 will experience “Thrill Seekers with Bible Study” and special activities planned just for them, according to Faye M. Amat, coordinator of professional development at the church.