Jammin’ with Jews: A Storytelling Weekend for All

Listen up! A consortium including all the Jewish congregations and major Jewish institutions in the Syracuse community invites all Jews (and friends) to GET JAMMIN’ at the Jewish Storytelling Jamboree from March 27 to March 29, 2009.

Tellers-and-Teachers-in-Residence for the weekend, a gift to the community from an anonymous donor, will be inspired teacher, storyteller and author Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum; his wife, Carole Forman, an experienced dramatist, storyteller and dancer, and Central New York’s own newly-minted Maggid Jim Brulé, known to the area for his own maggidut.

Didn’t think Jews could jam? Guess again! Reviving the honorable calling of the Maggid (preacher), who in times past travelled from community to community to awaken Jews to the beauty of their tradition, Buxbaum, Forman and Brulé will offer a variety of opportunities to listen, learn, study, and davven at locations around the Jewish community.

With the gracious leadership of the Jewish Community Center as lead agency, a working committee has planned the storytelling extravaganza with support and participation from Menorah Park and The Oaks, Syracuse Hebrew Day School, Rabbi Epstein School of Jewish Studies, Syracuse Jewish Family Service, Syracuse Jewish Federation, Syracuse University Chabad, and Syracuse University Hillel, along with Bet Havarim, Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Congregation Ner Tamid, Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Temple Concord, and Temple Adath Yeshurun.

How are we commanded to celebrate the holiday of Passover? By telling the story, of course! Thus the thematic focus of the weekend will be the upcoming holiday: stories to prepare, stories to delight, what the story is and how to tell it. Special attention will also be devoted throughout the weekend to addressing the challenges faced by emerging leaders, educators and clergy, and the role that storytelling and maggidut – the process of elevating and inspiring through story, preaching and interpretation – can play in meeting those challenges.

Come to one program over the weekend or come to all; you’ll hear different tales and bring away a special flavor from each event. Designed to reach the breadth of traditions, ages and circumstances found in our rich region, the jam-packed jamboree includes stories at Hillel, Temple Concord, The Oaks, and Menorah Park, and Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, culminating with a preschool program and parallel programs for adults and children at the JCC on Sunday morning. Telling stories is, of course, a favorite form of teaching, and teaching is the heart and soul of Jewish tradition and heritage. Thus Jewish educators and clergy will get the last word at special closed session just for them, over lunch at 12:15 on Sunday. For more details, see the weekend schedule.

Maggid Buxbaum is the author of numerous publications, most notably “Jewish Spiritual Practices” (given to the Dalai Lama to explain Judaism) and “The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov,” widely recognized as “a definitive assembly of everything Beshtian.”

So settle in and listen up: be sure to reserve the weekend of March 27-29 and GET JAMMIN!

For more information, call Julie Fleck at the JCC at 445-2360 x104. All events are free (except the Friday dinner at Hillel; pre-registration and payment of $15.25 required by emailing sbaskin@suhillel.org or calling 315-422-5082; high school students who attend the Young Leaders Forum eat free but must still pre-register) and open to all (except the educators’ lunch; please pre-register with your school principal or by calling Fleck).

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