Jewish Storytelling Coalition

Jewish Storytelling Coalition
JSC in action at Limmud Boston 2010

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Noa is coming to BOSTON!!!

“A Land Twice Promised”   May 5, 2014

                  Israeli storyteller Noa Baum will be coming to Congregation Dorshei Tzedek,
 60 Highland Street, 
West Newton, MA 
to perform her compelling one-woman show,
 “A Land Twice Promised.” 

                  From  a heartfelt dialogue with a Palestinian neighbor in the United States, Noa has created a moving testimony that illuminates the complex and contradictory history and emotions surrounding Jerusalem, for Israelis and Palestinians alike. She weaves together  the true stories of four women and gives us their voices: a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation as a child and as a university student; an Israeli child who lived through  the 1967 war; a Palestinian mother’s memory of the 1967 war; and an Israeli woman’s experience of the 1948 war and the loss of her brother. 
                  Noa says, “The experience of our compassion in the midst of passionate argument propelled me to create ‘A Land Twice Promised.’ Our conversations reminded me of Gene Knudsen-Hoffman’s words, ‘an enemy is one whose story we have not heard.’ I wanted my listeners to connect with our experience of discovery and common ground so I crafted these stories from our memories.
                  “I tell the human story that stands apart from politics and hope that hearing it will call upon us to listen with compassion without surrendering to prejudice and fear, choose dialogue, and commit to peace.”
                  Scenes from the show can be viewed at and Noa’s web site, with much more information, is
                  This performance will be free and open to the public.  Please invite your friends!  The show is suitable for adults and teen-agers.  It will take place at 7:30 pm, Monday, May 5, in the sanctuary at 60 Highland Street, West Newton, followed by a discussion with Noa. Refreshments will be served. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Share from Sandy Schuman

 Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sister Lillian Harrington's Midrash

In the long, long ago, the Lord God searched for people to be his own.
God went to the Greeks and asked, "What can you do for me if I make you my chosen people?"
"We are gifted architects. We can build beautiful temples where people can come in great nembers from all over the world to worship you."
"Thank you very much," God said, and moved on.
Then the Lord God went to the Romans and said, "What can you do for me if I make you my chosen people?"
"We are great builders of roads and bridges. We will build bridges and roads so that the people can find their way to you."
"Thank you very much," God said, and moved on.
Then God went to the Jewish people and asked, "What can you do for me if I make you my chosen people?"
An old rabbi answered for them. "We are not gifted architects. Neither are we great builders of roads and bridges. What we can do is tell stories."
And God said, "Then you will be my people."
Sister Lillian Harrington, OSB, Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS.

This story is quoted in Atchinson Blue, by Judith Valente. I heard it while at the Mount Saviour Monastery, where it was read during dinner and caught my ear. I received a copy of it just yesterday. It differs substantially from the traditional Jewish midrash, Sifre to Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:2, which describes God offering the Torah to various nations of the world. Each asked, "What does it say?" To one nation God answered, "Thou shalt not kill." The nation replied, "We can't abide by that." To another nation God responded, "Thou shalt not steal." The nation replied, "We can't follow that rule," and they too rejected the Torah. Finally, God offered the Torah to the people of Israel, who responded, "We will do and we will hear."

Since I am a Jewish storyteller, the story is especially significant to me. I wonder, where did Sister Lillian Harrington find this version? Unfortunately, she died a few days ago, on April 1, 2014, at age 96. May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A story from Howard read by Theodore Bikel!

A greeting from Howard Schwartz
Thank you, Howard!

This link leads to a story of mine, "The Lost Menorah," read by Theodore Bikel. It starts at 34 minutes. The rest of the radio show is beautiful Hanukah music.

Happy Hanukah,

click on audio link under the photo and scroll right to 34 minute mark

A Greeting from Eva!

A Greeting from Eva!
Thanks, Eva!

I'd love to share my Chanukah Rap on the Blog:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THIS JUST IN From Israel

 THIS JUST IN From Israel

The Council for Higher Education in Israel has recognized the IFA (Israel Folklore Archives) as part of the  National Research Infrastructure of Israel. This is a major development for folklore and folklore studies in Jewish scholarship. May Dov enjoy the good aroma in heaven.

Source: Dan Ben Amos via Peninnah Schram......Thank you, dear reporters!!
Happy Chanukah and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Peninnah Does Stand Up Comedy November 17!

If you're in NYC Nov 17, check out the new Jewish comedy stand up! Our very own Peninnah Schram will be doing interfaith comedy Sunday Night! Peninnah, you should make the Daily Show soon!
Sunday Nov 17, 2013   5-7 pm
In the social hall fo the church of St Paul and St Andrew> 263 W 86th St (between Broadway and West End Ave.  RSVP:

JSC Tribute to Dov Noy (1920-2013)

 (Strangely, this "post" disappeared into cyberspace and has recently been requested. This is the entry from October 7, 2013)

We are terribly saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Dov Noy (1920-2013), emeritus professor at the Hebrew University and one of the great pioneers of the study of Jewish folklore. He was a recipient of the Israel Prize.
Professor Dov Noy was the major figure in the renaissance of preserving and perpetuating the Jewish oral tradition in the 20th century. While he has published many books and important essays (including the entry “Folklore” in The Encyclopedia Judaica), his two main contributions are: 1) he applied an international classification system to Jewish traditional narrative; and 2) he established the Israel Folktale Archives. In the first case, Dov Noy (under the name Neuman) wrote his doctoral dissertation in folklore at Indiana University and created a “Motif-Index of Talmudic-Midrashic Literature.” When folklorist/scholar Stith Thompson republished his Motif-Index of Folk-Literature (1955-58), “he in turn incorporated Noy’s motifs, thus placing the Jewish traditions in a world-wide context” (Richard Dorson in Noy’s Folktales of Israel, 1963, p. xii). In 1954, Noy established the Israel Folktale Archives and Ethnological Museum at Haifa University. Presently, this archive contains over 24,000 folktales, classified according to tale types and motifs, country of origin, informant, etc. These folktales have been collected from all the various ethnic communities who live in Israel.  On average, the archives currently receive between 100-200 new folk narratives annually.

 The Israel Folktale Archives (IFA), named in honor of its founder Professor Dov Noy, was established in 1955. Two principle motives led to their establishment. Firstly, to collect, save and document oral folk narratives passed down over the generations by newly arriving immigrants, and veteran Israelis alike, from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds; and, secondly, to systematically research these folk narratives using modern scientific methods.

The archives were originally part of Haifa’s Museum of Ethnology and Folklore headed by Abba Khoushi.  Prof. Dov Noy managed the archives until 1983. They were later transferred to the University of Haifa where they are presently housed. IFA has the largest collection of Jewish folktales in Israel and the world over. The folktales, the way they are narrated, and the changes introduced into them are recorded, classified and sorted by the archives. IFA initiates folktale research in concert with Israeli and foreign research institutes, and publishes scientific editions from its collection.
The IFA plays an important role in advancing the cultural heritage of Israel’s many ethnic communities, and in encouraging open dialogue between cultures and ethnicities.

To learn more about the IFA, go to the English section of the website: Contributors to this tribute include Peninnah Schram and Bonnie Greenberg.