Monday, August 31, 2009

Mile High Mavens: Polish in Denver & Shine on Vail

by Bruce Shaffer, and for Cantor Birdie Becker, Caryn Aviv, Cherie Karo Schwartz, Ilan Glazer, R. Brian Feld, R. Elliot Baskin, and we-missed-you R. Marc Soloway and Sarah Pessin
August 17-22, 2009

What an intense and Mile-chai week for us Colorado mavens-in-training, and honored Midwest guest trainees – Judy Schiller and Marge Eiseman. Amichai, Naomi and Jake treated us to a non-stop, four day Phase III workout, focused on the Professional, Polished and Independent Maven. Using Acharei Mot (for Yom Kippur) as our text, in groups of 2 and 3 we delved deep and deeper into 12 step methodology, and emerged together beneath the big, purple Storahtelling chuppah as official, ta-da, Mavens. And then for Birdie, Bruce, Caryn and Ilan, it was on to Shabbat Shoftim for the show “Casting Stones” with the summer kehilla of B’nai Vail (a Mile High Mavens perk).

Casting Stones explored Shoftim’s mandate to pursue justice in context with the season’s slichot and tshuvah overlays. Using the dueling pair of Ruth Madoff and her sister-in-law Sondra as our foils was daring enough for our two Denver mincha audiences the previous week, but was it too risky for the Vail kehilla? Ayn baya – no problem. The first two aliyot, yamdooo’s “y’all betrayed ones,” and “those wantin’ to see some justice done,” brought ‘em up in droves. And it was standing room only at the bima for the third, “Yamdoooooooo all you ferociously committed change agents,” so much so that the rest of the folks stood in solidarity at their seats. The 2nd aliya stretch was active and on-point with our themes. When one fellow suggested that perhaps we should look at ourselves to see why these travesties occur in our community, we were finally seeing bulleye and feeling Welcome to Storahtelling.

Caryn and Birdie were convincing in their roles, evoking plenty of pointed audience reaction. Ilan was strong and timely on Torah. Bruce’s translations hit home, and he conducted an ‘engaging performance’ that left the original people of Israel at the foot of Vail mountain wanting more Torah – so we each continued in 1:1’s about justice, forgiveness, compassion, greed, status, tshuvah, as we eyeballed a slowly disapperaing Kiddush feast. And the people were wanting more Storah, where they winter in Alabama, California, Arizona and Texas. Also, Las Vegas (a Mile High Mavens perk).

All in all, it was a great way to cap off a great week of Maven training!

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