Monday, September 20, 2010

Telling the ‘Storah,’ starting anew at the water
by Tequila Minsky

A Rosh Hashana worship by the group Storahtelling offered a Torah interpretation with a theatrical twist at City Winery in Hudson Square. Founded by Amichai Lau-Lavie, at far right in photo at right, who led the event at the Varick St. wine mecca, Storahtelling mixes Judaism with the arts and new media. The ark holding the Torah at the service was made from a wine barrel by Michael Dorf, the winery’s owner.

The story was told of Abraham, the first Jew, and his wife Sarah, and the dilemma of the expulsion of the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar, who bore Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, “the father of Islam.”

There was prayer, lots of music and calling groups up to the Torah — including those with new beginnings, those who have ended something and those who could face truth in storytelling. There was commentary about the world and people’s connection to the Jewish new year. The traditional shofar was blown, marking the new year, at right.

The house was packed. There were kids from infants to teens; the older ones had the option of joining children’s activities during the three-hour event, returning to join the main crowd at the end.

It was perhaps not a “service” for everyone craving traditional methods. The words of prayers and songs were projected on screens, in Hebrew, transliteration and translation.

Afterward, the ritual of tashlich was observed, where last year’s sins are symbolically cast off by throwing bits of bread into the water — as the woman below at right did on the Greenwich Village waterfront.

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