SUMMIT, NJ - Temple Sinai of Summit will present an interfaith benefit concert of traditional and contemporary Jewish music and Christian gospel music on June 7, beginning at 3 p.m. The performance, entitled “From Classics to Gospel,” will feature Temple Sinai Cantor Marina Shemesh joined by the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble, and the Fountain Baptist Levitical Mass Choir.

The musical program will bridge the worlds of classical and contemporary Jewish music with African-American inspired Christian gospel music. The concert will appeal to all ages and faiths, expressing a rich collection of musical history from the ancient past to the present.

Cantor Marina Shemesh was born and raised in St. Petersburg, studied at the state conservatory there, and became sought after opera performer and soloist. She later graduated from Tel-Aviv Academy of Music, and her lyric soprano voice earned her a distinguished operatic career in Israel. In addition to being a soloist at the New Israeli Opera in Tel-Aviv, she performed in concerts, recitals, and oratorio with a variety of major Israeli orchestras. Since 2012, she has been based at Temple Sinai in Summit.

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The New Jersey Cantors Ensemble, directed by Cantor Sheldon M. Levin, is the world’s first choir of both men and women cantors. Comprised of over twenty professional-trained cantors of multiple Jewish denominations, the Ensemble is sponsored by the Cantors Assembly New Jersey Region, and is renowned across the country.

The Fountain Baptist Levitical Mass Choir, is based at the Fountain Baptist Church. Founded in 1894, Fountain Baptist is the oldest African-American church in Summit, comprising 1,900 members. The choir has nearly 50 men and women, and Its repertoire includes hymns, anthems, spirituals, traditional and contemporary music. The choir plays an integral part in the Church’s blended style of worship, which incorporates music, sacred dance, and theatrical presentations. Its goal is to provide a spiritually effective experience and to reach out, touch, inspire, and motivate the congregation. 

According to Cantor Shemesh, “It will be incredibly exciting for these two sensational groups to join together to explore their common roots and share their diverse musical approaches.”

Tickets, priced at $18 for adults and $12 for children, can be ordered from concert@templesinai.org,, by calling 908-273-4921, and will also be available for purchase at the door. Proceeds from the event will used to fund music programs at Temple Sinai.

Temple Sinai is located at 208 Summit Avenue.