Jewish Storytelling Coalition

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Larry Schwartz, loving husband of Cherie Karo Schwartz. She writes:

Shalom dear friends and family of my heart,
I wish I could have spoken with all of you, but time and energy prevent this now.
It is with my heart breaking that I let you know that Larry died yesterday, November 22nd, at 5:36 PM.
It all came so fast, in less than a day, yet Larry’s passing was such a peaceful, calm, sacred time, filled with peace. He had a clarity, a presence and dignity that belied all he had been through since the attack three months ago that left him in such a traumatic brain and functioning loss.  
It was  a peaceful miracle.
I want you all to know what blessings you were in his life, from family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, dance partners, neighbors, and so many more.

Here is the information so you will know.
Thank you from my heart for making Larry’s life more joyful , fulfilling, funny, strong, supported, and all.
Larry passed away peacefully last night, November 22nd, at the Aspen Siesta nursing home.  In addition to his loving wife Cherie, who never left his side, Larry was surrounded by loving friends and neighbors. 

Larry is survived by his lifelong friend, partner and wife,  Cherie Karo Schwartz, his daughter-in-law, Robyn Mayer, and grandchildren Zakaria, Lucy and Aaron Schwartz.  To his great sorrow Larry was preceded in death by both of his children, Ronda Schwartz z”l, and Daran Schwartz, z”l.

Larry was born in New York City and raised in New York and California.  He obtained his masters degree from MIT, and went on to obtain a PhD from UCLA.  Larry, an Aerospace Engineer, became Chief Scientist and Top Fellow for Hughes, which became Raytheon, for 43 years.  Larry loved his work and he was magnificent at it, creating software for the gigantic white satellite dishes at Buckley AFB by DIA.

Larry was a true renaissance man:  he designed the house that he and Cherie lived in, Cherie’s wedding ring and dress.  He ran a marathon at the age of 42, and had his bar mitzvah at B’nai Havurah seven years ago.  Larry was a wonderful artist, drawing and painting.  He loved Greece, Greek dancing and all forms of travel.

Larry’s most salient quality was always giving people joy through his amazing mind, beamish smile and incredibly pun-ish-ing sense of humor.  Larry was always loving ,  kind zeisen neshamah.  He will be missed.

Contributions in Larry’s memory may be made to B’nai Havurah, where Larry and Cherie have belonged for three decades, or to the Alzheimer’s Association. 
Larry had Alzheimer’s for many years, and yet enjoyed full, joyful life. 

Zichrono livracha – may Larry’s memory be for a blessing always.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

And we remember...

A dear member of our storytelling community, Roslyn Bresnick Perry, has passed. Those cards that everyone sent meant the world. Here is a tender note from Gerry Fierst, who was very close to Ros:

August 7, 2015
"Our dear friend Roslyn Bresnick Perry died this afternoon at 12:45. She would be 93 tomorrow. Sitting by her bedside, I had asked her son Robert if the birthday card that had been signed at the NSN Conference had arrived. He went to check the mailbox. As he returned, Roz died. So the last mail she received were the wishes and blessings of her storytelling friends and colleagues. The newsletter from the Whitney Center where Roz lived had one of her poems on its back cover today.

The last verse goes:

So Many Words
Oh, gods of my childhood devotion, don't let me forget
Don't let me forget the words
Love, friendship, laughter, joy, wonder, gratefulness.

See you the next time around, my sweet Roz. May you be borne on angels' wings."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not such good news, but there's one thing we can do...

This was written by Carol Birch and just arrived via Peninnah and Corinne:

Dear Storytelling Friends,

If you have not yet heard, Roz seems to be nearing the end of this journey. Roz cannot hear the phone ringing beside her bed, and she cannot communicate on the computer. If someone calls when a relative or friend is visiting, they can help her with the phone, though she finds it frustrating trying to find the words she wants to say. It is best to send a card or visit, though she is sleeping a great deal. Her 93rd birthday is Aug 8th. She has terminal lung cancer that has spread to her spine and liver.

From my visits, I would say that as ever, Roz is courageous, willing to shrug or smile in the face of difficult times, and given to focusing on what is sweet.

Her address is

Roslyn Bresnick-Perry
Whitney Center 
200 Leeder Hill Road  
Hamden CT  06517

Saturday, May 16, 2015

This week, the storytelling community lost one of its most beloved storytellers, Syd Lieberman. Corinne Stavish has written a beautiful tribute about Syd. Their friendship goes back to the days when they studied together and launched their storytelling lives. Thank you, Corinne, for expressing the feelings and admiration for Syd that so many of us have in our hearts:

In Yiddish, "lieb" means love, and, true to his name, Syd Lieberman embodied that word. It was his currency as a storyteller, teacher, husband, parent, grandfather, friend, and human being. Syd was a man of love. From the moment he entered the storytelling world, he warmed our hearts, lifted our spirits, and expanded our humanity. Whether he swaggered in his “Italian T-shirt,” or became his daughter’s hero by driving impossible distances to rescue her bunny, or battled the Long Island Expressway to get furniture for his son, we knew he would triumph. He had to—he was our hero as well.

Syd taught us all, our own community of “Irregulars,” that our foibles make us more human as well as more humane. He showed us that magic and miracle were in the small, everyday events, the “gold we need to mine.”  It was the commonality of his stories that reached us, that made us look for what was better in ourselves, because Syd showcased it. He understood that stories have no boundaries; hence, he could take us to Mars or back to our revolutionary roots. Syd has no boundaries either; therefore, he is forever with us, in our hearts…or maybe, just maybe, in a high corner of the Library Tent in Jonesborough during festival time…listening, laughing, and always loving. What a loss!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

 New Book may be a GREAT choice for Mother's Day gifts:

Storyteller Peninnah Schram's essay, "My Journey into My Name," has been included in a recently published book, At My Pace: Ordinary Women Tell Their Extraordinary Stories," Collected and Edited by Jill Ebstein. The book was published by SizedRight Marketing and is available as a book or a kindle through Amazon and the website,

At My Pace is a collection of thirty-six essays that expands the conversation about the many roads women choose. Some women drive the autobahn, full speed ahead; others prefer a journey full of twists and turns, yield signs and rest stops; still others find a u-turn along the way and switch directions entirely.

Peninnah's essay explores her journey how, as a young mother suddenly widowed, she discovers her inner strength through her name. She also introduces the various Elijahs the Prophet who appeared in her life to open doors for her that, in turn, led her to become an academic and a storyteller.


A poet who cares for her ailing father;

A pioneering sports reporter who finds meaning in adopting her Chinese daughter;

A graphic designer whose life implodes during the dot com bust;

An educator who celebrates her choice to be single;

A mom with young children who has fallen off the corporate ladder...

At My Pace is a book about ordinary women who share their extraordinary stories, celebrating our individual choices with refreshing candor and wisdom.  Their stories will inspire, amuse and maybe even guide you.

Monday, April 27, 2015

From Our Portland Oregon Colleagues!

Hello JSC community,
I am delighted to be one of three featured tellers for this weekend's event:

Tell It Like It Is: Portland’s Jewish Storytelling Festival

Shaarie Torah is pleased to host Tell It Like It Is: Portland’s Jewish Storytelling Festival this upcoming May 2 & 3 with featured Storytellers: Maggid Cassandra Sagan, Sacred Storyteller Brian Rohr and Musician/Teller Eric Stern of Vagabond Opera.  The Jewish Federation of Portland is co-sponsoring.

This Festival will bring together classical and maggid-style storytelling, The Moth-style personal narrative with Emcee Boaz Frankel, storytelling workshops for those who want to learn the art, and even events for kids with Devorah Spilman. The Festival culminates in a performance by the magnificent Bohemian cabaret ensemble Vagabond Opera.
More information at:

Thanks and many blessings,

-Brian Rohr