Jewish Storytelling Coalition

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Peninnah's letter of gratitude

October 24, 2017

My dear wonderful storytellers-friends with whom I am heart-dancing,

Let me tell you a story: Once three devoted students were observing their great scholar-rabbi deep in study. Each student tried to outdo his friends by offering flattering boasts and praises about the rabbi's virtues as a scholar like Akiva, as a patient man like Hillel, and as a generous man always with an open hand.
        Slowly, the rabbi lifted his head and asked his students, "And from my modesty you say nothing?"

That's how I felt after reading all your magnificent and creative letters in support of my receiving the NSN 2017 "Oracle Talking Leaves Award". As you know, Anne was not only the head of this Award Committee, but also initiated the idea of compiling a treasured gift for me by soliciting Letters of Congratulations from so many of my dear friends in our Storytelling world! Anne, thank you for the idea and taking the time and attention to send me this loose-leaf binder with all of these letters, including the splendiferous Nomination Letter by Caren Neile and the splendid Letters of Support! I am not exaggerating!

To tell you the truth, when this book first arrived in the mail, I was totally shocked/surprised since not one of you let me 'in' on this secret gift. Really!!!! Did you not even whisper it to a blade of grass that might have reached me - even from the sidewalks of NYC?

Then when I started reading the letters, I couldn't do it except for skimming them. It was all too exciting - as my heart started doing the jive beat - and I felt the praise was so magnified that I couldn't find what you wrote to be credible to myself. My head grew bigger and soon I had to spend a lot of money on a 'new enlarged hat'. Really! And I had to put the book away on a side table.

A few weeks passed - and then I "screwed my courage to the wall" (is that a correct quote?) and - if I were a drinking person I would have had a few shots of scotch first - and opened the book while I sat comfortably at the table and took a big slow breath. Of course, I wanted to read these letters that all of you had written so lovingly, so thoughtfully and so beautifully! I found that each letter is a gem - perhaps I can say a "pearl" (since Peninnah means "pearl" in Hebrew). As I read through the book slowly and mindfully, I wept with gratitude and laughed with joy! I spoke aloud to each one of you as I read your letter.

Thank You, dear Caren, for thinking to nominate me for this distinguished "Talking Leaves Award"! Thanks to the three Supporters, Dan, Carol and Melissa! Thank you, my heart-friend Cherie for Introducing me at the conference - then shifting to the Acceptance Speech microphone - and reading my Acceptance Speech so expressively - and with good humor! Thank you EVERYONE!

I am blessed to have all of your friendships in my life!