STORYTELLING PROGRAMS FOR THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Storytelling binds the heart and mind. The possibilities for using storytelling in your community, educational, and ritual settings are many, and together we can tailor them to your community’s specific needs. Following is a suggestion of some of the ways you might use my skills to help draw a multigenerational community together, entertain, educate, and expand your tools for communication and learning. A weekend residency consists of your choice of 3-4 of any of these described services.
1. I have frequently delivered a D’vor Torah as part of the evening service. By using storytelling as an integral part of the Shabbat service, people are first experiencing it as a natural outgrowth of your ongoing activities.
2. Create a Friday night community concert following services to draw in whole families and introduce them to a weekend of storytelling activities.
Workshops for adults, parents and/or young adults can all strengthen community ties and give people new skills for listening and communicating with one another.
Bringing the Tanakh Alive:
The stories of Torah come alive for us when we live through them. Every year we have been instructed to tell the tale of the Exodus as if
we came out of Egypt. This workshop will introduce the young people to theatrical techniques that will enable them to take on characters, identify with their situations and challenges, and play out the scenarios that the torah has provided. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Torah’s living beings and choices they made.
Our Torah is filled with archetypal characters and stories. What it often lacks is an understanding of the motivation that draws characters to certain choices. Midrash is about the idiosyncratic ‘why’ and discovering the fire between the lines of our ancient text. There is no single correct interpretation of any passage or story, but by allowing ourselves to identify with a single character and retelling the story from their vantage point we gain a new insight into both these ancient characters and ourselves. Participants will learn guided imagery techniques and be drawn into the world of our forbear’s in a way that will offer relationship between the ancient and the contemporary.
Weaving Our Lives is a workshop for parents and children, which guide the adults in creating stories for and with their families. A non-threatening form of communication can become a welcomed ritual in a family’s life. Our contemporary society has become painfully dependent upon mass media to define our leisure hours. During this session families will play with their own memories, the symbols of Sabbath, and their imaginations to access an endless well of creative interactions.
For pre B’nai Mitzvoth students and their parents
Looking For G-d’s Doorbell is the tale of that, oh so American ritual, Bar Mitzvah. It is about that inevitable searching of the soul that every parent experiences when they insist that their child matriculate through this coming of age that can reflect a true embracing of mitzvoth or clan fights, catering bills, and decor decisions. When shared at CAJE 23 the standing room only audience laughed till they cried and offered-
a long standing ovation
“Spellbinding, heartwarming,and yet oh so familiar, a wonderful evocation of the struggle to keep one’s children rooted in Judaism. ”
-Linda Weltner The Boston Globe
Consider an Evening for the big people. Storytelling can open your gates of perception and allow tears and laughter to fall at a velocity that would out pace a spring rainfall.
Performance Programs for Your Adult Community
My performance material for adults has been reviewed and hailed from stages as broad ranging as the Montreal Comedy Festival, The University of Judaism(Los Angeles), Hebrew University (Jerusalem), and The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro Tn. Programs range from retellings of the Torah and Midrash, to vivid memories of shtetl and immigrant life, to sophisticated adult material that reflects contemporary Jewish life. Following are descriptions of full length theatrical events. We can also piece together a program from Midrashic, Historic, and Biblical sources.
Esau My Son is a ripplingly funny and powerful story about raising the child you didn’t expect to be yours. “Darling, our people become doctors, lawyers accountants. We don’t join the Marine Corps!” Learning to nurture who your child is, rather than who you thought they should be is an education for everyone involved. 8 Broadway musical parodies highlight this tale for all parents.
Humorous and poignant, this memoir tells the story of a vegetarian, feminist, peace activist Jewish mother whose son thwarts her expectations, choosing bombs over books, football over chess, and ultimately joining the Marines to fight in the war his mother opposes. -AudioFile Magazine
– 1 hour
Retiring the Champ:
A Story About Coaching Life’s Last Big Bout The bell sounds, and this life long fighter, grand daughter of the Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem, daughter of orthodoxy, immigrant child, teacher and union organizer bounds from her corner punching. The paradox is that at 83 Trina is forgetting which direction her opponent’s coming from. This is a story about family, faith, and coaching a feisty prizewinner through her last big bout, only this ring is visited by landmarks of laughter and redemption.
– 1 hour 35 minutes with intermission
“Judith Black is like a repertory company of one….She wittily conveys the trials and tribulations of one of life’s trickiest passages, negotiating our parents’ sometimes long and winding ending.” – Mobsy Strange Kennedy The Improper Bostonian
Judith Black’s one-woman show deals with serious subjects: family relationships, Alzheimer’s disease, elder care, the machinery of the medical industry, and the death of a loved one. Laugh?……We can laugh because Judith Black is an extraordinary writer, sensitive and accurate, who understands the need to find humor in the darkest of situations. Bittersweet and timely, this is first-rate storytelling. -AudioFile Magazine
Through laughter and tears: THE STORIES OF OUR PEOPLE
Storytelling can open your gates of perception and allow tears and laughter to fall at a velocity that would out pace a spring rainfall. Tonight’s program will be drawn from hysterical midrashic retellings of Bible tales, to vivid memories of shtetl and immigrant life, and leave us in the here and now.
If you want to get sassy:
That Fading Scent, is a seditious comedy about women and aging. Be brave and take a dangerous journey to the edge of your ‘genital functions!’ From ranting about our culture’s emphasis on Sexy at Sixty, to exploring the realties of being Snow White’s mother, nationally renown storyteller, Judith Black, explores both the dark and riotous edges of menopause. You will meet Queen Crone, a new super heroine, bellow and bawl at Sigmund Freud’s dismissal of females beyond their ‘era of womanliness,’ and travel with one empty nester through a modern fairy tale of renewal.
This is the thinking woman’s version of Menopause: The Musical…Black is a warm and dynamic storyteller, exposing the legacy of bias against older women with a wry sense of humor. In fact, she shows how life after 50 can be wonderful…….Smart and undeniably funny, That Fading Scent… is a great example of the power of storytelling.” – Orlando Sentinel
This show says that at any age there are adventures to be had, mischief to be made, and choices to be wrestled with!
I have other programs and stories, and depending upon the audience you expect or want to draw we can shape an evening specifically for them.
1. Stories for Your Youth Community
These tales, created or culled from the the Torah, ancient and modern midrash, the times of our wandering, and contemporary Jewish life are aimed at teaching the law, reinforcing Jewish values, strengthening community, and having a good time.
2. Workshops For Educators -Workshops require 1-3 hours
When we explore the Torah from the inside out we create midrash. During this workshop we will use characters and situations from the Torah and explore the motivations, relationships, and outcomes of their acts. In doing so we will create new stories bridging our lives to theirs.
GETTING THE STORY OFF THE PAGE
Have you ever been moved by a story in print and retold it exactly as it was written, only to have it fall flat? Stories were passed on orally, for generations. In order to help that printed story become three dimensional once again, you must blow the life back into it. This workshop will offer a model and practice at performing that very act.
THE TECHNIQUES OF TELLING
During this workshop we will play with and stretch all of your potential assets for making a story you love come alive. From dramatic use of your voice, an expressive body, and an imagination that creates images in thin air, participants will play with techniques. Ultimately, you will emerge with a broader palette of expressive tools to choose from in your storytelling.
HISTORY STORIES-BRINGING THE PAST ALIVE
History books tell us the ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘where’ and ‘when’ of an event. What they almost never include are the details that makes a piece of history into a story. In this workshop you will learn how to take historic episodes and make them into vital stories.
This is an interactive workshop during which participants stretch their skills at play and use of their imagination. Your sense of the possible will grow as your inhibitions diminish, and you will emerge with wonderful ideas to initiate creative writing projects.
Please feel free to call and we can discuss what combination of events would give your community the most joy and learning. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Judith also teaches two classes annually in her home:
In the summer: Telling Stories to Children
In the cold of Winter: Making Stories From Your Life