Monday, February 14, 2011

LIKE GOSPEL MUSIC? MEET MY FAVORITE SINGER


 by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Joel Chernoff who first appeared on the music scene some years ago as lead singer for a Messianic music group called Lamb—as in The Lamb of God.



Above is a recent photo of Joel in concert. Notice that people are dancing in the Lord as he sings. 

Click below to hear two of his songs-- The Sacrifice Lamb and I Will Talk To My Brothers

.   The Sacrifice Lamb


 .   I Will Talk to My Brothers


Molly:
Wow! That music we just heard was fantastic. Made me want to clap my hands, if not get up and dance in the Lord. Welcome, Joel. It’s so great to have you here and meet you after all this time.

Joel: 
Shalom Molly. It’s great to be with you and to have been selected as your Favorite singer. 

Molly: 
Messianic Jewish music sounds a lot like Jewish music but with a huge difference. Would you please explain what Messianic Jewish music is and how it is different from Jewish music as well as Christian Gospel that we hear so often today? 

Joel:
Messianic music as I developed it in 1970 and recorded it on our first Lamb album in 1972 is a combination of ancient Jewish musical motifs and (at the time) the contemporary top 40 folk rock sound of the day. I sprinkled in a little Hebrew as well as adding to that a Messianic Jewish perspective of life and Scripture and you have something new and fresh. Of course and most importantly, the message centers around a vibrant relationship with the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).

 Molly: 
I would like you to fill in the blanks for us by telling a little about your history. Just hearing the words to your songs is enough to convince me that you are a follower of the Lord, Jesus Christ—or Yeshua as Jesus is called in Hebrew. So, where were you born? Where do you live now? And please tell about your salvation experience and as much about your family and personal life as you feel comfortable telling.

 Joel:
I was born in Atlanta Georgia, raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and have spent the last 35 years in Philadelphia, PA. I came to faith in Messiah through the witness of my parents, Rabbi Martin and Yohanna Chernoff., They were real pioneers in the modern day Jewish revival called Messianic Judaism. I graduated the University of Cincinnati with a BA in political science but was called to full time music ministry with Lamb in 1973.
 I have two siblings, David and Hope. David is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Yeshua in Philadelphia (one of the largest Messianic synagogues in the US) and has also served the Messianic community in national and international leadership roles. My sister Hope Edelstein has also served the Messianic community in national leadership roles most of her adult life.
I was married to Mindy (Tatz) Chernoff in 1979 and have three children, Sharon (28) Aron (25) and Elisha (21). I am truly blessed and deeply thankful for the family that God has given to me.  .
We all reside in the Philadelphia area and attend Beth Yeshua.

Molly: 
Now, tell us when the first Lamb album came out—when the group broke up and when you started cutting albums on your own. Please include all your contact information and the names of all your past and future albums. And in your opinion, where is Messianic music headed in these end times? 

Joel:
The first Lamb album came out in 1972. We produced 12 recordings which are all available on our web site lambmessianicmusic.com. We recorded and ministered for almost 20 years until we felt God calling us to other things in 1992. Lamb sold several hundred thousand recordings and spent the decade of the 1970’s in the top five contemporary Religious/Christian artists in the US. Our recordings frequented the tops of the Christian charts.
In 1992 Lamb retired and Rick Coghill eventually moved back to his hometown of Cincinnati. I put music down for a few years while the Lord called and established me as the General Secretary/CEO of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA, www.mjaa.org). The MJAA is the largest single organization representing the Messianic Jewish community in the world today. I have been very active in creating a funding base in the US to resource our many humanitarian projects in Israel, Ethiopia and Eastern Europe, besides the programs happening in the US.
In 1999, Galilee of the Nations (a Messianic recording company) contacted me to record a new project as a solo artist. This eventually led to the recording of The Restoration of Israel and then to a second solo album, Come Dance With Me.
In 2005 Galilee of the Nations commissioned a new Lamb recording called The Sacrifice. This was collaboration between myself and Ted Pierce.
The future of Messianic music really lies with the next generation of young artist. They are few and far between at this time. However, my daughter, Sharon (Chernoff) Wilbur is beginning to make her mark. Sharon married Paul Wilbur’s son Joel thus bringing two well known Messianic musical families together.
Two years ago, Sharon was an American Idol contestant that made it pretty far. She got a lot of face time for weeks on their commercials advertising the main show. She parlayed that into a contemporary musical career with her first release Mercy Calling. She is a wonderful songwriter and vocalist. Look for her. She is on the rise.
In addition to the music, she also has a burgeoning TV career with Fox TV. She is currently the Face of Fox 30 in Jacksonville Florida and has just recently created and produced an entertainment feature that is being utilized twice a day in several markets outside of Jacksonville. You can see her work by Googling Fox30Jax. You can’t miss her.
In addition to Sharon, Beckah Shae, is also a new Messianic artist from Nashville who currently has two top ten hits on Contemporary Christian Hit Radio. She sings in Hebrew and English and is building a huge fan base.
I pray many more like Beckah and Sharon Wilbur emerge to carry the message of the restoration of Israel and the Messiah’s soon return forward. Each of these artists has their own web sites. Just google them for the correct address.
I am also still ministering in music and do about 30-40 concerts a year in churches, conferences and messianic synagogues. If  anyone is interested in contacting me for a concert please contact:
New Hope Management: 972-862-6160 or Michael@newhopemanagement.com

Molly:
Thank you Joel, for stopping by today. Please come back again and again.

Joel: 
Thank you for finding me, Molly. God bless you and shalom!

Molly: 
I cannot say goodbye without telling how to find Year of Jubilee, if you shop at Amazon.
To find Joel Chernoff in music shops and bookstores, write Joel Chernoff in the search slot.

16 comments:

Molly Noble Bull said...

Hi,
I will be posting another of Joel Chernoff's Messianic Gospel songs when I post again on the first day of March.
Love,
Molly

Kathi Macias said...

Thanks, Molly, for highlighting this wonderful singer/worshiper. Messianic music is my absolute favorite. Blessings to you both!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Oh, Kathi, thanks for writing. I'm glad you like Messianic Christian music. It's great, and Joel's music is the greatest.
Love,
Molly

Margo Carmichael said...

I love Lamb. I guess "Queen of Sheba" is my favorite. Such a good, strong, heartbreaking message. Thanks for posting this, Molly!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Margo,
From what album came Queen of Sheba? I can't find it.
Please reply. Inquiring music fans want to know.
Love,
Molly

Teresa Slack said...

Thanks, Molly, for bringing Joel and his music to my attention. Love the interview and the music.

Molly Noble Bull said...

Thanks to all of you for leaving comments, and if you will scroll down and read Katy King's article on baby chickens, directly below mine, you will see a place to click on. Click to hear still another of Joel Chernoff's inspiring songs.
Love,
Molly

Leann said...

Molly, I'll say I've been listening to Joel for a long time. His music sings to my soul and my children grew up listening to Lamb's music. I'm grateful the tradition is continuing.

Cecelia said...

What awesome music and what a great interview. Thanks for sharing.

Molly Noble Bull said...

Thanks for writing, Leann and Cecelia. Come back again soon.
Molly

Lynn Dean said...

I love Lamb! They were my favorite group in the 70s, and I used to sing some of their songs as lullabies to my children, but I hadn't listened to them in years. When I read the titles on your links, though, not only the tunes but the words came immediately to my mind as if I had heard them just yesterday. The truths of Joel's lyrics resonate.

Katy King said...

Loved this music! Thanks, Joel and Molly.

Terri L. Gillespie said...

Hi Molly,

Just had a chance to review all the comments. Very encouraging. Thanks for spotlighting, Joel. He really appreciated it.

Hugs,
Terri

elizabeth said...

i heard them as a young 20-something struggling with my faith. it was my first introduction to the term Messianic or completed Jew. . Baruch Adonai remains my favorite song. so glad to see i found a wealth of info when i on a whim decided to do a search. today is a day for looking back at the things that made me who i am today

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Elizabeth, thanks for visiting Writers' Rest and commenting. We hope that you'll come back again and read some of the other articles.

Anonymous said...

Molly,

I realize it's a full 3 years after the fact, but the song "Queen of Sheba" is on the Lamb III release.