HUC-JIR Students and Alumni to Lead First Annual World-Wide-‘Storah Weekend’ - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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HUC-JIR Students and Alumni to Lead First Annual World-Wide-‘Storah Weekend’

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Elliot Baskin, C ’85, D.Min ’93, HUC-JIR Cantorial student Josh Breitzer, Howie Goldsmith, N ’07, and Fred Reeves, C ’05, will be leading Storahtelling events February 6-8, after completing training at HUC-JIR/NY in January (read more at


Storahtelling announces the first World-Wide-Storah eventcelebrating 10 years of Storahtelling’s groundbreaking work in the Jewish community and beyond, lifting Bible “off the page and onto the global stage.”

World-Wide-Storah is a series of performance events scheduled for February 6th – 8th, 2009: one weekend of one biblical story presented in 11 different interpretations in 11 different communities worldwide: one location for each of Storahtelling’s 10 years, plus one more—looking to the organization’s continuing future success in “restoring ancient stories for new generations.”

More than 30 Storah-trained Mavens across denominations from London to Jerusalem, Chicago to Portland, will present Storah-Style events, inviting thousands of all ages to make story matter - celebrating Storahtelling’s innovative model for of sacred storytelling for the 21st century.  The Mavens, utilizing tools they have acquired from Storahtelling’s training programs, will lead 11 diverse communities to delve into the challenging biblical text of the Exodus – examining the yearning for freedom, the price of war, triumph and morality -   in contexts ancient and modern, global and deeply personal.     

 “To face the challenges of a global reality we need change agents that think globally,” says Amichai Lau-Lavie, Storahtelling’s Founder and Executive Director. “Jewish illiteracy is clearly one of Judaism’s greatest challenges, worldwide. Restoring the role of the Maven is a great way to meet this challenge and provide the Jewish community, in its widest sense, with real access to the Jewish conversation.”  

Hebrew for “expert,” Maven is a biblical term originally describing the role of the oral translator of Hebrew Scripture into local language. Mavens were part of the Torah Service as translators and storytellers for centuries, but faded from Jewish life a thousand years ago.  In the past decade, Storahtelling has reclaimed and restored the Maven for communities across the globe, bringing creativity and passion to weekly Torah Services everywhere.  

Storahtelling has trained Mavens internationally since 2006 in communities which include London, Chicago, Jerusalem, Cleveland, and Riverdale, NY.  Rose Community Foundation in Denver just announced its generous support of a new multi-denominational Maven Training cohort in Colorado, which will be launched in 2009.  In this vein, Storahtelling has been recognized by the Slingshot Guide as one of the top 50 innovative Jewish organizations for 4 years is a row.


Isa Aron, Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR/LA said, “Storahtelling's approach is so powerful and so important in increasing the level of learning and engagement in congregations.  Maven training is truly the next frontier.” 

To find a World-Wide-Storah Event near you, visit

On February 6-8, 2009, World-Wide Storah will occur in the following 13 locations, to date:

1. Washington, DC: Temple Sinai - Storahtelling Co. Maven Team David Loewy and Naamah Harris

2. Miami, FL: Congregation Bet Shira - Storahtelling Co. Maven Team Jake Goodman and Shira Kline

3. Portland, OR: Congregation Neveh Shalom – StorahLab Educator Rosana Berdichevsky and her learners

4. Chicago, IL: Congregation Etz Chaim - Trained Mobile Maven, Aaron Freeman

5. London, England, St Albans - Trained Mobile Maven, Joel Stanley

6. Cleveland, OH - Trained Mobile Mavens, Judy Schiller & Jesse Freedman

7. Wilmington, NC: Topsail Island Jewish Women's Retreat - Trained Mobile Maven,

      Marge Eiseman

8. Riverdale, NY: Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale – Trained Mobile Maven, Phil Keisman

9. New York, NY: Temple Emanu-El – Maven-in-the-Making (trainees), Rabbi Howard Goldsmith and Cantorial Intern Joshua Breitzer are joined by Storahtelling Co. Maven David Wolkin.

10. Jerusalem, Israel: Kehilat Kol HaNeshma – Storahtelling Co. Maven Amichai Lau Lavie and Jerusalem Mavens-in-the-Making Cohort


Durango, CO – Maven-in-the-Making (trainee), Rabbi Elliot Baskin


Los Angeles, CA – Mobile Maven, Jonathan Freund – Exact location TBA


Atlanta, GA: The Temple – Maven-in-the-Making (trainee) Rabbi Frederick Reeves is joined by Rabbi Micah Lapidus

For additional information on World-Wide-Storah, please contact Franny Silverman at (212) 245-8188.  For information on upcoming Storahtelling events, please visit:


ABOUT STORAHTELLING – Storahtelling is a pioneer in Jewish education via the arts and new media.  Through innovative leadership training programs and theatrical performances, Storahtelling makes ancient stories and traditions accessible for new generations, advancing Judaic literacy and raising social consciousness.  Established in 1999, Storahtelling has been identified as a “trailblazer of the Jewish World” (Bnai Brith magazine), inspiring “reverence and relevance” (the Washington Post) and hailed by Time Out NY as “Super Stars of David.”

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.