Friday, October 19, 2007


Three day master class at Denver University with Amichai Lau-Lavie.
I just traveled from Goshen to NYC, via Rome, Baghdad and Berlin, spanning 2,500 years in just three afternoons – and all inside a Denver University classroom! The Making Maven Matter workshop was intended for DU students as well as open to the community, and the mix of people – about 25-30 was indeed that – all ages, religions, and backgrounds. Using a PowerPoint presentation, lively discussion and various interactive exercise, we covered the history of the Maven tradition – the live translation of Bible into contemporary conversation and lively presentation. For most people present – including rabbis, professors, and various lay leaders, this was new and very exciting information and several reflected on how this technique and its radical ramifications for their ability to re think their relationship to biblical literacy and religious thought. Over and over people expressed the surprised joy at having fun while examining biblical passages, and at the sense of relief to be allowed to ‘play’ and find personal meaning in these ancient and so often constricting texts. For our final exercise, the participants split into small groups and created their translation of the Burning Bush story – choosing language and character to convey this timeless tale of listening to the personal call for action. People chose Maya Angelou, Smokey the Bear, a little child, God’s voice of compassion, the fire, and – George Burns. It was a great way to end a great workshop – see the attached picture of one fantastic interpretation of the Moses and the Bush story, analyzing the feminine/masculine archetype of this tale. For me this was a fantastic opportunity to share the Maven history with a new type of audience – beyond the Jewish community and reaching the wider population – where I am hoping Storahtelling will be of help and impact in future. One response came in via email this morning – very much speaking to this effect, and warming my heart..

Dear Amichai,

thank you for a fantastic experience. We Christians tend to forget that our roots are in Judaism, we share with you the beginning of our story.

When I told my daughter Victoria about "Making the Maven Matter", and asked her to come with me, first she did out of curiosity; on Tuesday she left early to go to Rugby practice, today she said to me "I am skipping practice, I really want to stay for the whole thing." Tonight after we left you we sat for coffee to talk about what we've learned, actually, she did most of the talking, she said she wishes she could have taken this workshop at least a couple of years ago, before having to translate Virgil's Aeneid from Latin last year, and having to take four years of Theology in high school. So, I now see the Bible's teachings with a completely different set of mind and with renewed interest, thank you again.


1 comment:

  1. sounds like a great, full time. from maya angelou to george burns. sounds like the best description of god that i've ever heard.