S4 Ep. 8: Songs of Joy and Mourning

Episode 49 · May 5th, 2022 · 39 mins 52 secs

About this Episode

Reconstructing Judaism board member and Tikkun Olam Commission co-chair Shahanna McKinney-Baldon opens up with Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D. and Rabbi Sandra Lawson about her time singing for the ska and reggae band Highball Holiday. The educator, activist and artist, who comes an African American and Ashkenazi family, talks about rediscovering her singing voice in middle age, and shedding certain inhibitions and self-consciousness. (Co-host Rabbi Sandra Lawson also recounts embracing public singing in her 40s, partly to connect with Jewish liturgy.) McKinney-Baldon frankly discusses the grieving process following the 2021 loss of her father, as well as her wrestling with the Jewish prohibition on listening to music — let alone performing — during the traditional morning period. The trio discusses a Reconstructionist, values-based approach to engaging with, but not necessarily being dictated by, Jewish tradition. She also discusses her work on the Tikkun Olam Commission and describes the ongoing process of gaining support for a movement-wide resolution supporting reparations for slavery.

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