Jewish Storytelling Coalition

Friday, November 3, 2023

Just heard....still time to sign up/view


New Mexico Jewish
Storytelling Festival 2023
Attend In Person and/or on Zoom
November 3th, 4th, and 5th

Schedule | Purchase Tickets | Volunteer | Guest Bios

Contact and Zoom Help -
Call (505) 343-8227 or send an email to

More Stories - More Workshops!
And more opportunities to bask in the world of Jewish story.


  • Oro Anahory-Librowicz - Our first international storyteller who will be joining us virtually from Montreal. She was named StorySave Teller of 2022 by Storytellers of Canada and has received a medal from the King of Spain for her work in Sephardic studies.

  • Mark Binder - storyteller and author, who will be zooming in from Rhode Island

  • Gerald Fierst - from New Jersey, Gerald worked closely with the noted Holocaust historian, Dr. Yaffa Ellach, and her award winning collection Tales of the Holocaust which he adapted into the musical play Dancing with Miracles.

  • Rabbi Lynn Gotleib

  • Peninnah Schram will be sharing her stories from New York.

But there is so much more!

Our hybrid festival will be attended live by storytellers who are traveling from Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, California and more, making Albuquerque the Jewish storytelling destination! There will be live-streamed workshops and performances for the entire weekend of our “Storyteller’s Shabbaton.” Friday night and Saturday morning services are free to all, as is our Sunday morning children/family program. This year, we are featuring our first Teen Telling. To attend the rest of the Festival, you’ll need a ticket. If you are lucky enough to come in person, join us for a Mid-Eastern feast after Saturday’s service.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Festival, November 3-5, 2023. You will receive the zoom links once you purchase your tickets. Click here to purchase tickets

Enjoy performances, stories, and workshops with tover 20 storytellers!

For more information, please contact

Monday, May 22, 2023

Susan Stone Announces an upcoming program June 15 in Morton Grove Illinois! ......Questions:


Date & Time

Jun 15, 2023 03:00 PM    

As an award winning professional storyteller, Susan Stone has been captivating audiences for over 30 years. Jewish tales from Midrash, folklore and Hasidic sources performed with grace, Yiddishkeit, and  humor, transport her listeners to experience the wealth of, wisdom and pathos in oral tradition. Personal narratives are interwoven throughout, illuminating the tales for her listeners.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Reviews of Peninnah's World just keep on coming in! Read it here!


Penin­nah’s World: A Jew­ish Life in Stories 

Caren Schnur Neile

  • Review
By  – September 7, 2022

Penin­nah Pearl Schram is an acclaimed Jew­ish sto­ry­teller. Writ­ten by a schol­ar for whom Schram served as a doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber, this autho­rized biog­ra­phy art­ful­ly cap­tures Schram’s jour­ney in a series of chap­ters — each of which reads like a com­plete story.

Schram (née Man­ches­ter) was born in 1934 to immi­grant par­ents and spent her ear­ly years in the coastal city of New Lon­don, Con­necti­cut. Her father was a Jew­ish vocal­ist (chaz­zan) who also per­formed cir­cum­ci­sions and rit­u­al slaugh­ters, while her moth­er was an indus­tri­ous busi­ness­woman. They show­ered her with sto­ries, music, wis­dom, and love. She learned moral­i­ty, empa­thy, and strength of char­ac­ter from oft-repeat­ed folk­tales and bib­li­cal sto­ries. An intel­li­gent and resource­ful young­ster, she devel­oped a love of the­ater and speech in school and col­lege. She met aca­d­e­m­ic and social suc­cess and was ever eager for new expe­ri­ences and opportunities.

The nar­ra­tive fol­lows Schram through engag­ing anec­dotes and can­did accounts as she attends col­lege, trav­els, mar­ries, and has chil­dren. It tracks how she honed her the­atri­cal skills, set­tled into NYC domes­tic­i­ty, and then lost her hus­band Irv­ing at a young age. After his death, the sin­gle par­ent of two began teach­ing at Iona Col­lege. Through a serendip­i­tous meet­ing at a wed­ding she reluc­tant­ly attends, the dean at Yeshi­va Uni­ver­si­ty offers her a posi­tion. She rejects it, but a year lat­er accepts his offer of a pro­fes­sor­ship at Stern Col­lege for Women. Her pas­sion for per­for­mance and immer­sion in Jew­ish tra­di­tions allows her to devel­op the first col­lege course in Jew­ish Storytelling.

Schram has become a trail­blaz­er in Jew­ish folk­lore. She read and taped sto­ries for the Jew­ish Braille Insti­tute; imple­ment­ed a sto­ry­telling pro­gram for chil­dren at the 92nd Street Y; broad­cast­ed over the Jew­ish radio sta­tion WEVD; and brought her art­form to the Jew­ish Muse­um. Among her oth­er accom­plish­ments, she orga­nized the Jew­ish Sto­ry­telling Cen­ter (CAJE), appeared at Nation­al Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­vals, and authored many books and antholo­gies. Her tal­ent and per­son­al­i­ty bring her acco­lades, numer­ous awards, and recog­ni­tion as the cen­tral fig­ure respon­si­ble for the reemer­gence of Jew­ish sto­ry­telling. What’s more, she counts Elie Wiesel, Isaac Bashe­vis Singer, and oth­er Jew­ish lumi­nar­ies in her acquired cir­cle as her friends, men­tors, and colleagues.

Caren Schnur Neile has strung Schram’s sto­ries with poet­ic lan­guage and rel­ished exam­ples of Jew­ish sto­ries — fit­ting, con­sid­er­ing the sto­ry­teller Schram her­self is.

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Yiddish Review of Peninnah's book has arrived!!! (in translation!)

 From the Forvertz (The Forward newspaper our Bubbies/Zaidies read every day! I subscribe!)

Peninnah's World: A Jewish Life in Stories, authored by Caren Schnur Neile 

Review by Mikhail Krutikov in Forverts, July 21, 2022

Translated by Mikhl Yashinsky, August 3, 2022

For Peninnah Schram, subject of the biography




“Dos lebn fun a dertseylerin, aleyn dertseylt vi a mayse” 

(“The Life of a Storyteller, Itself Told as a Story”)



Peninnah Schram helped to revive a tradition of telling Jewish stories here in America.


When the first Jewish immigrants came from the German-speaking countries to America in the middle of the nineteenth century, they brought along the Reform movement of Judaism, with its temples and “Reverend” rabbis, which fit well with the American Protestant doctrine of Christianity.


Consequently, the new wave of Jewish immigrants, which came from Russia and Poland a half-century later, had to conform to this “Yekkish” (German-Jewish) Judaism, in order to become true-blue Americans. They left behind in the Old Country those beliefs and customs that seemed antiquated and primitive to the “civilized” Americans.


Jewish folklore, all sorts of songs, spells, and stories, also formed a part of this abandoned inheritance. True, the immigrants were themselves very familiar with this inheritance, but they kept it to their homes, in accordance with the well-known principle, “Be a Jew at home, and a human being on the street.” Peninnah Schram grew up in just such a home. She would later gain a reputation as a masterful storyteller of Jewish tales.


Her father, Samuel (Shmuel) Manchester (he received that name when already in America), was a cantor, a kosher slaughterer, and a performer of circumcisions in the city New London, Connecticut, where he served the Jewish residents of the surrounding towns. Her mother, Dora (Dvoyre) earned a living from all kinds of work, as was the custom among Jews in the old shtetls.


Both of her parents grew up in Lithuania, but the family got along very nicely among the “Yankees.” Peninnah, who was born in 1934, went to college, and later married a lawyer whom she had met in New York. She had theatrical talent, and successfully produced a play based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story “Gimpel the Fool,” which her small troupe played in various synagogues. Meeting with the famous Yiddish writer made a strong impression on her, but her career in theatre did not go further. Singer was very friendly, but his agent demanded a great deal of money for performances of his work on professional stages.


Nine years after her wedding, her husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and she was left a young widow with two small children. A friend invited her to teach the arts of drama and storytelling at Iona College, a small Christian university in New Rochelle, New York, and a new career took off for her. A couple of years later, she received a similar position at Yeshiva University in New York, where she would teach for a span of 46 years, from 1969 to 2015. During that time, she published dozens of recordings and collections of Jewish stories for children and adults. She draws her material from many different sources: the Hebrew Bible, legends, Chassidic stories, and Yiddish folktales, then adapts them to the tastes of contemporary readers.


Peninnah Schram has now herself become the heroine of a storybook with the title Peninnah’s World: A Jewish Life in Stories. The author, Dr. Caren Schnur Neile, herself a professional teller of Jewish stories, has a great deal of respect for Peninnah Schram. She conducted a number of interviews with Schram and afterwards “dramatized” them into 25 chapters, which are styled like stories, with lively dialogues and theatrical effects. The goal of this approach, the author explains, is to allow the reader to better understand the connections between the events and the emotions that play out in the course of the heroine’s life. “In this way, I was able to transform the treasure of factual information into images, which will hopefully stick in people’s memories,” writes Caren Schnur Neile in the introduction.


What does Peninnah’s World tell us about its heroine, her life, and the society that surrounds her? Of a pattern with other books in its genre, the great social questions and political conflicts of the day remain outside the book’s purview. Here is charted the success of a Jewish woman in the “goldene medine,” the golden land of America. She is possessed of a strong character, a creative talent, and a sound upbringing. The images that the author builds upon the groundwork of facts in the 25 story-chapters are homey and full of charm, written with love and imbued with many lively details of the lifestyles of the Jewish middle class in and around New York. One meets within the pages of the book well-known personalities like Singer, Eli Wiesel, and Molly PIcon, and peeks into pretty parlors, dining rooms, and the wings of theatres. At times these pictures remind one of episodes of Mad Men, and other times The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.


The reader follows Peninnah’s life from childhood on. Every story contains an episode that uncovers a distinct facet of her personality. Raised in a pious Jewish home, she later had to adapt herself to various unexpected situations. In Paris, she and her husband were invited to dinner as guests of a highly-respected French family, where, with great fear, she caught sight of a lobster on the table. She succeeded at politely wriggling free of having to eat the treif creature. Yet another temptation lay in wait for her in Haifa, when she went there to meet distant relatives. In order to honor the distinguished American guests, the Israelis proudly offered them pieces of white meat which turned out to be pork. Her husband found it delicious, Peninnah asked for fish instead. Such details are interesting, but sometimes they get in the way of offering a greater picture of the historical period, which was full of momentous events for the Jewish people and the wider world.


Professor Dan Ben-Amos, an expert of Jewish folklore, comments that Peninnah Schram transplanted the art of storytelling from its traditional religious context to the domain of general education and communal activity. In German, one would say that Peninnah made the genre of the Jewish story “salonfähig,” or socially acceptable, in America, for both Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. In that sense, she has continued the tradition of Sh. An-ski, I. L. Peretz, Martin Buber, and other Yiddish and Hebrew people of letters who at the threshold of the 20th century in Europe undertook to remake folkloric material in their own works. At the same time, the various Jewish national movements endeavored to make use of folklore in order to attract wide swaths of the Jewish masses.


In this country, this cultural legacy has for many years remained on the outskirts of American Jewishness. Only with the greater emergence of interest in Americans’ own various ethnic roots, which was connected to the social protest movements of the 1960s, did Jews here also begin to dig up their own forgotten inheritance. Peninnah Schram’s life and work are a part of that history.