Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kicking off 5768

Verse per verse: The Weekly Storah
By Lauviticus

The 40th floor of 7 world trade center in downtown Manhattan is home to the NY Academy of Science, and a bronze bust of Charles Darwin graces its entry hall. Under his austere and hopefully amused gaze, a few hundred people gathered on September 12 and 13 to mark the 5,768th birthday of the planet – not exactly in line with evolutionist theory. Storahtelling’s fourth annual Rosh Hashanah celebration featured a partnership with Tribeca Hebrew – a growing and dynamic grassroots NYC Jewish community, and attracted many guests off all ages, backgrounds and faiths. Amazing music and liturgy was led by Amichai Lau-Lavie, Shira Kline, Chana Rothman, Ronen Itzik, Jeremy Brown, and Katie Down. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah we held a memorial service for 9/11 – just a previous day and a few hundred feet away. 7 World Trade Center is the first of the ground zero buildings to be rebuilt, and this powerful symbolism was echoed as we remembered the loss and started a new year with a prayer for world peace and self renewal.

The following day we split up – offering a children’s’ service and activities in one room while the adults gathered in the main space for musical liturgy and the telling of the Torah tale for Rosh Hashanah – the birth of Isaac and the banishment of his brother Ishmael. The Storahtelling version of this dramatic tale, entitled ‘Child’s Play’, directed by Franny Silverman and featuring Shawn Shafner and Emily Warshaw, brought alive the Genesis tale of a dysfunctional family that happens to be the ancestral soap opera of both the Jewish and Muslim nations. At one point during the telling, the voice of Hagar, the other mother in this tale, and the mythic matriarch of Islam, was speaking to us, voicing pain, anger, hope and possibilities for healing of old wounds. Many people reacted later, in person and via emails – “I Loved how you brought in Hagar's point of view..It left me pondering ..We discussed it all through lunch later that day!”

Rabbi David Kline (Shira’s dad) was our shofar blower and blew a record 58 seconds long final blast… Darwin seemed to like it, and the 300 people who were there left with a lick of honey and a taste for more. To be continued on Yom Kippur.

1 comment:

  1. Storahtelling is for uncool people.