Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Couple's Experience at the First Ever StorahShabbat

On December 18th, 2010, my partner Ann and I attended the StorahShabbat event at City Winery in Manhattan.

To give you a little background on us: I was raised in a very very very Reform Jewish home. I grew up in a town with a high Jewish population (Sharon, MA) and I attended Hebrew school for a few years as a child, but never became a Bat Mitsvah. I am able to recognize a few of the prayers and songs from the 50+ Bar and Bat Mitsvah’s I attended as a teen Ann was raised Catholic, but is not practicing. She is very spiritual and interested in all religions. We are engaged, and she is very interested in learning about the Jewish traditions since they will be a big part of our wedding. It has been a struggle to find a congregation that is accepting to our relationship and is a fit for us. I am happy to say that we have found it! Thank you, Storahtelling!

When we walked into City Winery for Storah Shabbat, we both felt a sense of belonging. Ann felt that it was okay for her to be there, even though she wasn’t Jewish. Amichai began the service with both children and adults together and explained the meaning of Shabbat. Ann liked that the kids were present for the intro because she learned about the meaning of Shabbat and different names for G-d. Ann says, “it taught me what I needed to know from the beginning”.

For me, this was the first time that I was an active participant in the service. In the past, I would bury my head in the Sidur and pretend to read along, but Amichai had the songs on the power point for everyone to follow along!

After about 30 minutes, the children were taken into the winery to enjoy songs with Shira Kline (www.shirlala.com). Shira has a passion for what she does, and it shows. She gathered all the children and parents into a corner of the winery and started singing and playing guitar. All of her songs had a meaning and directly related to what Amichai talked about at the beginning of Storah Shabbat. Then, the children got to experience the puppet with the guys of Storah Steps! They enjoyed the play, but also enjoyed singing and dancing with the puppet to Shira’s music.

While I hung out with the children, Ann stayed in the main service for the Mavens. Ann said, “this was really good for me. I understood the story because it was acted out and enjoyable to watch. I got it.”

What Amichai and the staff of Storahtelling have created is nothing like I have ever seen before. The Storahtelling family is welcoming, and wonderful in every way. Ann and I will most certainly attend the next StorahShabbat on January 22nd, 2011 at City Winery!

Amy Beckerman is a Standup Comic and Educator working in New York City. More information about her can be found at www.amybeckerman.com

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