Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Maven at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, MA

By Shira Kline

Storah On The Road

Annie Levy and I traveled to Boston this past weekend to join Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, MA for a Maven and workshop experience. We were welcomed with open arms. Rabbi Alpert had met Storahtelling on numerous occasions and was absolutely thrilled to have us there. We spent the afternoon rehearsing with Cantor Schloss who, with curious eyes and a great sense of humor, joined in the fun. That night, "Setting the Stage" was Annie and my first opportunity to meet the community. You never know who is sitting before you and how as a group they will respond to a different kind of interaction from the Bima. Annie brought tears to our eyes with her personal anecdote about the power of story. The congregation didn't miss a beat. They were ready to share.

What really struck me about our experience this weekend was the number of unique voices and stories just waiting to come out. I wondered when the last time people turned and really acknowledged each other during services. For Parashat Pikudei, Annie and I probed deeply into the power of the devine design. It was clear that as Jews on a Shabbat morning, we were all in this together. Though everyone struggles individually to piece together their part in the grand design and most of all to see how each one of us is reflected in the divine.

Sunday morning, we heard even more stories from the 4-7th graders. Whether they felt silly or dramatic participating in our workshop, each contributed a unique voice. We conjured up biblical characters. Everyone was represented from Moses to the burning bush to a dead goat in the desert. All were so present with us in that room and it reminded us that each of our stories could also be found in the Torah. I think the students were taken aback at how their upcoming B'nei Mitzvah is actually an opportunity to find themselves in these ancient tales.

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