Tuesday, May 06, 2008


One Giant Leap in Princeton, NJ

By Jake Goodman

Storah On The Road

This past weekend Chana Rothman and I drove down to The Jewish Center in Princeton, NJ to perform One Giant Leap, Storahtelling’s fabulous kiddie show with puppets and music. The play begins the morning after Pharaoh agrees (or is strong-armed) to let the Hebrews go, and centers around a Midrash about an Israelite guy named Nachshon ben Aminadav—played by an blue muppet-puppet little boy, built by Anna Sobel—who took a leap of faith and walked right into the Sea of Reeds, knowing that the waters would part as God promised. According to the Midrash, it is Nachshon’s act of faith—and not Moses’ staff—that causes God to part the sea. I love performing this show—it’s hilarious, filled with engaging and accessible content in creative ways, and I am always amazed by how the kids are mesmerized by this puppet and Chana’s music.

These two performances at The Jewish Center were were sponsored by Ziona and Rabbi David Wolf Silverman—who had seen Storahtelling perform our Selichot show this past Fall—in memory of their daughter Shira Silverman, z”l, who recently passed away. Prior to coming to The Jewish Center, I had spoken with Ziona multiple times on the phone and we worked together to make sure that this program would honor her daughter in the best way possible—and relate to both Passover and Yom Ha’atzmaut. I felt a huge responsibility, more so than usual. And I have to say, this play felt so powerful. The message of every one of us being strong enough to take one small step to freedom felt so meaningful. Connecting this exodus of freedom from Egypt to Israel’s independence in 1948 felt so poignant. Afterwards, the kids spoke about how we now have freedom and independence, but we still need PEACE and ACCEPTANCE and TOLERANCE. Maybe those are the next stops on our Jewish journey. Their comments were beautiful.

Today, Ziona wrote me and said, “You are lovely people who put your heart into your work. That is what Shira was like. Therefore, we are especially grateful and pleased.” I feel very honored, and lucky.

“Shira Silverman was very talented in the arts and lived her life expressing them all at one time or another. She studied literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was also a member of the Khan Theater Group, starring in many of their productions. Upon her return to New York, she taught various arts programs to children and adults. In more recent years, she concentrated on poetry and became well known for her wonderful use of language and writing. She was a leading presence among poets in New York who assembled weekly in Peekskill to read their writings. A memorial anthology is in the process of being published by that group. Shira had a beautiful voice and sensitive soul that expressed itself in art, dance, drama, poetry and prose.”

--from The Jewish Center’s newsletter

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