Monday, November 05, 2007

RituaLab, Maven and Workshops in Tarrytown, NY

October 27-28, 2007

By Elana Architzel

Storah On The Road

Last weekend the incredible Naomi, Shawn, Brian, Amichai and I ( Elana A. ) ventured a little ways north of the city to visit our friend in Tarrytown. We had the pleasure of not only doing a Maven-type show but a RituaLab and two workshops as well. This was the first time I have had the experience of participating in a RituaLab that was not Storahtelling family exclusive and I have to say... I think it was a big success. So many times when we go to shul, especially those of us who grew up and go to a more traditional service know most of the service, when to get up , sit down, bow, do the whole dance if you will but never really connect with what is going on. For me, RituaLab has always been a unique way to blend the gourmet taste of Storahtelling with traditional service. As soon as those Tarrytowners enter the room with the beat of the drum... Brian on keys... and Naomi and Shawn serenading them to the sweet sounds of Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbat... they were hooked. The day continued in this fashion, and once we got to the Halleluah, people were fully moved by the atmosphere and of course spontaneous dance ensued. This brought us to the Torah service and a moving monologue written by Shawn delving into the Abraham, Sara, Hagar, Ishamael, and Isaac story. It forced not only us but the community to really dissect this part of our Jewish history and explore the rift between the two peoples. This led to amazing discussions and contemplations for the rest of the weekend.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the second workshop I got to participate in led by the one and only Mr. Shawn Shafner. It was an adult education group who truly allowed themselves to trust Shawn and be thrown full heartedly into the activities. The different perspectives and character free-writes this group did affirmed not only the importance this work and Storahtelling, but where this work can lead people in discovery. It is truly a blessing to witness and be apart of this process when someone engulfs themselves in the story and characters and allows their own translation to marinate and simmer. As we were packing up the car to leave it really felt like here is a community that loves this work so much and will continue to make sure it hold a place in their community.

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