Directory of Storytellers
Maggid (Mah-geed: storyteller) David Arfa breathes life into Jewish stories from the past four millennium. He performs at prayer services, interfaith events, festivals and family programs. His ReStorying Judaism workshops deepen our relationship to Judaism’s storytelling heritage. His CD “The Birth of Love: Tales for the Days of Awe,” contains ancient mythology, old-world Yiddish tales (set in the Berkshire foothills), and other surprises. David’s newest performance is titled: “The Jar of Tears: A Memorial for the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
A little known fact about David is that he is a “Shretelech guide” (Yiddish for the magical little people). He draws on his experience as an environmental educator and leads “Shretelech Expeditions.” Kids spot the kindly Shretelech easily, however adults usually have less luck. At the very least, everyone enjoys the quiet pleasures of field and forest, a taste of Judaism’s ancient environmental wisdom, and a few good stories.
Michael David Baefsky
El Sobrante, CA
Community storyteller Michael Baefsky presents Jewish folktales, neo-Chasidic sagas, personal stories and living history to audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Music and song are inseparable storytelling elements for Michael who uses traditional and original niggunim (wordless prayer-tunes) and other forms of sound in all of his stories.
Originally from East Los Angeles, Michael worked as a merchant seaman, a naturalist and biological researcher in Israel, played acoustic bass and guitar in a Berkeley CA klezmer band and musically accompanied Jewish congregations including the Aquarian Minyan and Chochmat ha Lev.
Michael is currently working on folktales from the Israel Folk Archives that he has translated from Hebrew and is presenting in English to audiences of all ages. He is also at work on stories about John Brown, American abolitionist. His first two pieces in the series are told from the points of view of Jewish compatriots of Brown.
Noa Baum is an award-winning Israeli storyteller, educator and actress, trained in theater and education at Tel Aviv University and NYU. Her animated, energetic style and rich interpretations of her Israeli-Jewish heritage bring a unique flavor to her storytelling performances and workshops.
Noa uses storytelling to cultivate understanding and compassion: Her one-woman show A Land Twice Promised relives her heartfelt dialogue with a Palestinian woman, illuminating the complex and contradictory history and emotions surrounding Jerusalem for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Noa’s storytelling has captivated and inspired children and adults since 1982, in hundreds of congregations, schools, universities and organizations, including: World Bank; Mayo Clinic; Kennedy Center; Smithsonian Institute; US Defense Department; NYC Jewish Museum; Jewish Theological Seminary; Brandies University; Park Avenue Synagogue. She is a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award winner and a recipient of Individual Artist Awards from Maryland State Arts Council and Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
Providence, RI 02906
Mark Binder is a Jewish writer who really knows how to tell a story. As the author of the award-winning Chelm series of adventures, his stories have been published in newspapers and heard in communities around the world. Mark’s goal is to transmit joy, and he does that by energetically engaging the youngest and the oldest in his spellbinding narratives. From Reform to Chabad, elementary through family through seniors, in classrooms, auditoriums or from the bimah, his stories enthrall and resonate, bringing families and communities together in the joy of shared story.
A graduate of the Trinity Rep Conservatory with a degree in mythology from Columbia and an MA in theater and English, Mark’s stories are both visceral and intellectual simultaneously. In other words, he can make you think and laugh at the same time. Mark's books include "A Hanukkah Present" (finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Family Literature), "Matzah Mishugas" and the novel, "The Brothers Schlemiel."
Whether it’s an educational, holiday, social or fundraising event, his stories will amuse and entertain, and perhaps even enlighten. Programs include: Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Purim, Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings, Author Visits and Stories for Peace.
“Mark Binder is a real person who tells real stories from the heart! He touches all ages with universal tales of life’s ups and downs…with a performance containing many more ups than downs. He is a consummate professional, who entertains with ease and joy. Every time he has performed here at the Yiddish Book Center he has surprised and delighted our audiences.”
Judith Black’s traditional and original stories have rocked laughing audiences to their feet. Winner of the Oracle: Circle of Excellence, the most coveted award in storytelling, Judith has been featured on stages as far reaching as The Montreal Comedy Festival, The National Storytelling Festival, The Smithsonian Institution, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the National Art Museum in Cape Town, and NPR. As both a host, presenter, and entertainer, her work was been featured at over 10 CAJE conferences.
Judith’s stories explores the oh so American experience of B’nai Mitzvah, Jewish familial function and dysfunction, parenting, the issues and journeys that accompany end-of life, as well as tales from our historic, cultural and religious lives. She has created original stories for numerous organizations, served as an artist in residence for synagogues throughout the country, and is an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University.
Ralph Chadis, Not Your Typical Bard
Ralph Chadis, Not Your Typical Bard, has been storytelling for grownups since 1985. He has been a regular in the New England scene all that time, and is well respected. He has performed at such venues as The Three Apples Festival, Club Passim, and the New England Folk Festival.
His stories re-awaken in adults those feelings of youth when, with our jammies stained with ice cream, we begged to be filled with stories. His Jewish storytelling is taken from the Midrashic tradition of trying to make sense our tradition.
As the Stand-up Chameleon Jackson transforms himself into a host of eccentric characters and altered egos. Audiences of all ages love each and every one. His performances are seasoned with soulful song, dance, mime and sign language — all delivered with a bemused, warm-hearted honesty. Specific programs available for Chanukah, Purim and other holidays.
“A masterly storyteller...compelling.” —Christian Science Monitor
“A zany kind of comic mutant.” —Maine Public Radio
Karen’s recordings “Tales and Scales: Stories of Jewish Wisdom” and “Pass It On: A Journey through the Jewish Holidays in Story and Song” have won both NAPPA Gold and Storytelling World Honor awards. Her fluency in Hebrew and knowledge of Yiddish and Jewish culture is passed on in all her tales. Audiences from coast to coast have applauded Karen as a passionate performer of traditional and original stories and commissioned works, a published writer, speaking coach, teacher and recording artist. Funny, inspiring, outrageous and real!
Rabbi Dan Gordon
Rabbi Dan Gordon (or “Reb Dante”) has been delighting young (and not-so-young) audiences for nearly 30 years. He’s toured throughout the United States, Israel and Australia with his unique adaptations of traditional folklore, Hasidic classics and personal stories of life. He creates an atmosphere of warmth and imagination, with audiences of any age or size feeling as if they belong within the stories. Stories are amusing and thought provoking, inspiring audiences to feel good about themselves and what the world has to offer. He especially enjoys bringing adults and children together, and can modify any program to fit the age group and desire of the audience. Interfaith programs are also specialties for Rabbi Dan Gordon. Sample programs include:
“With each tale, you feel his dedication and the beautiful integrity of his soul.”
-- Peninnah Schram, National Storytelling Association Lifetime Achievement Award
“He has an unbelievable talent for discerning what each person needs to hear. It’s powerful!”
-- Rabbi Ernesto Yattah, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rabbi Janie Grackin uses the art of storytelling to inspire and educate. Janie creates programs for intergenerational populations in synagogues and schools in the United States, England and Israel, and has performed at many CAJE and Limmud conferences. In 1997 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her commitment to AIDS education. In 2005 she was awarded the Solomon Schechter Gold Award for Family Education, and has served as the co-chair of the CAJE Jewish Storytelling Network. Her debut storytelling CD “The Key: Jewish Stories of Heart and Heritage” is available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/grackin.
“Janie is a weaver of the soul, transforming text into profound art and transformational experiences.” —Amichai Lau-Lavie/Executive and Artistic Director/Storahtelling Inc.
“When Janie tells a story, you are part of the story, and the story becomes part of you!” —Lynne Lieberman, Assistant Executive Director, Commission for Jewish Education, West Palm Beach
Eva Grayzel is an expert on interactive storytelling inviting as many as 50 audience members to spontaneously role-play stories emphasizing Derech Eretz, Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah. With over 25 years’ experience, Eva teaches educators the secrets to her hands-on and engaging techniques.
After surviving a life-threatening illness, Eva developed a parent workshop on enhancing family rituals to be more meaningful, memorable and Jewish. She offers a program for confirmation students on leadership skills and Bikkur Cholim.
Eva’s signature stories are recorded on the award-winning video ‘The Secret In Bubbe’s Attic,’ and two storytelling CD’s: ‘Absolute Chanukah’ and ‘A Story A Day.‘ She is the author of two children’s books in the Talk4Hope Family Book Series, ‘You Are Not Alone: Families Touched By Cancer‘ and ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek.’
Whether it’s a keynote, workshop or performance, Eva educates, entertains and inspires audiences worldwide through the power of story. Audiences don’t just hear a story, they experience it.
"Eva engages listeners with compelling stories, weaving sound pedagogical principles into her art." - Evie Levy Rotstein, Ed.D., Program Chair Hebrew Union College The Leadership Institute, New York NY
"Our parents were tremendously moved by Eva’s presentation about family rituals. She made a difference in the lives of our students and families. Five thumbs up!!" -Anne Andrew PhD, Education Consultant, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Canada
"Teenagers are a tough audience; Eva knew just how to rope them in and inspire them.’"-Adrienne Goldstein, Program CoordinatorCenter for Jewish Education, Baltimore MD
Prepare for the capture of your imagination! A guitar strum, a bongo beat, a wink of the eye, and Bonnie transports you into the heart of Jewish Folklore. Bonnie Greenberg, M.S., is an experienced educator/storyteller who “touches the heart and teaches the mind...a perfect combination of the inspiring and the practical.” Her vibrant stories are rooted in her love of people, her Appalachian childhood, her life in Israel and her travels abroad. Her engaging stories replete with guitar, dumbek and song energize listeners of all ages. Jewish Folktales and World Folklore frame her performances and her Holocaust Commemoration programs are personally researched.
Bonnie’s performances are enhanced by her many workshops (see website). She serves or has served in leadership positions of the National Jewish Storytelling Network, the Jewish Storytelling Coalition, and the LANES Board. Her audio recordings, “From the Hearts of the People” and “The Wonder Child” won several awards including a Parents’ Choice and NAPPA Gold!
“Bonnie, a storyteller of uncommon depth, tells with great power, integrity, and courage.”
—Jay O’ Callahan
“High energy, interactive performances, workshops, residencies for all ages”
Muriel combines creativity and an open heart with a rich knowledge of Jewish stories and traditions as she shares folktales, “midrashim,” and family stories. She performs for all ages and conducts workshops in many different venues.
“I love creating new programs based on the needs and desires of my clients.”
P.O. Box 545
Marshfield Hills, MA 02051
Doug Lipman reveals the humanity of Jewish stories to audiences of
all backgrounds. He has a passion for Jewish mystical stories, Jewish
folktales, and original Jewish stories. He has shared this passion
with adults and children from New York to New Zealand and beyond - adding 12-string guitar, button accordion, and flute to many of his
performances. Doug, an award-winning author and recording artist, has performed his two-act "The Soul of Hope" on three continents. The Boston Globe called it "a fascinating story of Jewish spirit and myth...a Hasidic tale about combating despair, finding hope, and transforming the world."
Other programs include:
- "The Ballad of Mauthausen: a Holocaust Program of Stories and Songs"
- "Now We Are Free: Stories and Songs of Freedom for Passover."
- "One Little Candle: Participation Stories and Songs for Hanukkah"
The pre-eminent storytelling coach in the U.S., Doug has trained countless performers, educators, and other professionals in the timeless art of Jewish storytelling.
Since 1990, storyteller Bruce Marcus has been wowing audiences with his original stories, poems and crowd-pleasing rhyming tales, conveying the cleverness, warmth and especially the humor of Jewish and other tales. His programs, geared to adults, seniors and older children, are general or themed around holidays and events, and may include Jewish folk tales and interactive/participatory story activities. Bruce is a veteran performer at Boston and other First Night festivals, The New England Folk Festival and many other venues, from large halls to pubs to small gatherings, and the beach to high mountain huts. Bruce was a finalist in the Boston 2009-10 story slam season competition and at the time of this posting is on his way to the 2010-11 final rounds in April 2011.
“Bruce Marcus is a marvelous storyteller. The bright light of his spirit shines through his tales.” —Late Master Storyteller Brother Blue
Cindy Rivka Marshall travels nationally to be a storyteller in residence at synagogues, offering Jewish folktales and midrashic stories for all ages. Cindy's theatrical style weaves words with movement and music. She encourages audience participation with gestures and catchy refrains. She offers programs for all Jewish holidays.
Cindy works as a consultant to organizations, using story eliciting and listening to facilitate learning, to build community, develop educational innovations and for professional development. Her popular workshops include” “Bringing Text to Life: Midrashic Storytelling” and “Jumping off the Page: Storytelling Skills for Educators” and "Your Jewish Journey Story."
She has been an invited presenter and performer at: Limmud UK in Coventry, England, Limmud Boston, Riverway Storytelling Festival, the Connecticut Storytelling Festival, CAJE, newCAJE, the National Yiddish Book Center and the National Storytelling Network Conference.
Cindy’s recordings, which have garnered awards from Parents’ Choice, Storytelling World and National Parenting Publications include “By the River: Women’s Voices in Jewish Stories";
“Challah and Latkes: Stories for Shabbat and Hanukkah”; "Bear's Tail and other Animal Tales" and "The Whole Megillah: A Purim Tale."
“Her telling comes through with such goodness and sincerity — and power.”
17 Swan Lane
Lexington MA 02421
After years of receiving positive student evaluations thanking him for his personal stories that made the content come alive, Hal finally concluded that the most effective method of teaching was to tell stories.
Hal teaches in many secular venues - industry, government & academia - but always telling stories. What he enjoys most is teaching Torah to adults in congregations and students in Jewish schools. As part of this experience Hal invites and facilitates participants in creating stories (midrashim) that enhances and expounds on the text; a most effective technique for studying Torah. Students in 3rd thru 7th grade are captivated by creating stories for a reporter for the Canaan Times (photo).
Hal’s learning has taken him from yeshiva and encompasses orthodox, conservative, reform, renewal & havurah Judaism. He is a graduate of the Davvening Leadership Training Institute at Elat Chayyim and a recent winner at a MassMouth StorySlam.
Fran Uditsky Moss
Emmy Award winner Fran Moss' warmth and charm have captivated children and adults, far and wide, including Carnegie Hall and even a First Lady. As a storyteller, musician, cantorial soloist and puppeteer, her interactive performances and services enthrall, inspire and educate! With thought provoking tales and tunes for all ages, and lively stories and sing-a-longs, Fran nurtures creativity and instills curiosity, a love of learning and a love of life! As Fran says, “When we sing together and share our stories, we reach each other's hearts and souls.”
Fran is the co-creator and a faculty member of the Maggid Jewish Storytelling Workshop at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute. For seven years, Fran appeared on the CBS-TV children's show, “The Magic Door” and as a Ready-to-Learn Educator with PBS-TV, Fran has given hundreds of workshops for educators and parents and inspired and motivated thousands of children.
Whether storytelling, singing, teaching, or worshiping together, Fran works closely with you to create a performance, workshop, keynote, service or residency that will be a perfect fit!“Together we created some spectacular moments.” -- Debbie Friedman
“Fran had the listeners totally spellbound." -- Susan Katz, Jewish Federation
"How lucky we were to have had you. I could sit and listen to you for hours.”
-- Julie Barr, Dickson Mounds Museum
Peninnah Schram, internationally known storyteller, teacher, author, and recording artist, is Professor of Speech and Drama at Stern College of Yeshiva University. She has appeared at conferences, synagogues and festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival, the Connecticut Storytelling Festival and Sharing the Fire Storytelling Conference. Vibrantly elegant in her presentations, Peninnah tells Jewish folktales of wisdom and humor, interweaving melody and dialogue. Jane Yolen wrote: “When Peninnah Schram tells a story, even the leaves on the trees stop trembling to listen.”
Peninnah is the author of ten books, including Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another and Stories Within Stories: From the Jewish Oral Tradition. Her recent anthology is The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales. She recorded a CD, “The Minstrel and the Storyteller” with singer/guitarist Gerard Edery.
Peninnah is a recipient of the prestigious “Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator” (1995) awarded by The Covenant Foundation, and the National Storytelling Network’s “The Circle of Excellence Award” and the “2003 Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Sandor (Sandy) Schuman tells personal adventures, historical sagas, and tall tales in the Jewish storytelling tradition. From his personal stories, such as It’s Hard to Tell a Hug and Lucky Numbers, to historical stories, such as Same and Different: The Never-Ending Story of Chanukah and the humorous and inventive Welcome to Chelm’s Pond, Sandy has captivated and moved audiences at synagogues, storytelling festivals, interfaith events, Tellabration, and Story Sundays. Sandy weaves in Jewish-themed songs written by his father, Samuel Schuman z”l, creating a performance not to be missed.
His new book, Adirondack Mendel’s Aufruf, was described by one reviewer as “sweet without being soppy, funny without being mean, and inspirational without being preachy.” It’s a mashup of the Chelm fool and Adirondack tall tale, a fusion of Adirondack and Ashkenazick cuisine, and a wonder about the nature of God and meaning of prayer. Sandy’s new storyteller-in-residence program, featuring original Jewish stories and songs, is called My Father was a Storyteller.
Applauded and acclaimed as “mesmerizing…capturing the hearts and minds of audiences,” Corinne specializes in Jewish Folklore, personal narratives and biblical interpretative tales (midrashim) that are warm and witty, powerful and poignant, enhanced by a varied and lively performing style. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival; presented provocative workshops nationwide; was a keynote speaker at the National Storytelling Conference, 2005; guest-edited Storytelling Magazine; was a Detroit Jewish Woman Artist of the Year 2001; produced award-winning recordings, including Hussies, Harlots, Heroines: Shady Ladies of the Bible, and Solidarity Forever: Growing Up Union; contributed to Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul and The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible. She is a College Professor in Humanities at Lawrence Technological University, awarded Professor of the Year 1999.
"An experience not to be missed...Stavish grabs your attention in the first minute and doesn't let you go until each of her spellbinding tales reaches its satisfactory conclusion." - Detroit Metro Parent
“With her mastery of pacing and dialects, and expressive characterizations, Susan Stone vibrantly conveys the magic…” (ALA Booklist)
Susan shares her stories with the technical expertise of her theatre training and the intuitive wisdom of a true storyteller. Funny, poignant Jewish folk and fairy tales for adults and children include Midrash, Chasidic and Biblical tales all given interesting and lively interpretations, lifted off the page with insight and skill, and put back into true oral tradition. She also teaches storytelling to teachers at National-Louis University, is a published author, and has been honored with many awards for her CDs of Jewish stories for children (Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Storytelling World Award, NAPPA Gold Award). Susan shares her heart when she tells a story.
A passionate performer for over 20 years, Susan’s tales entertain, enlighten and illuminate the human condition. School Library Journal declares, “she is an incredibly talented storyteller.”
Carla Vogel is a storyteller, writer and community artist. She is a master teaching artist with KAIROSalive! An award winning program working with older adults in intergenerational settings to liberate the healing power of interactive dance and story.
Storytelling Programs Include:
Tsimmes! — Music and Stories of Eastern European Yiddish Culture Together with Klezmer musician Judith Eisner, Carla reaches into Eastern European and family folklore to bring a colorful world of Jewish characters to audiences of all ages.
Wise Fools and Others: Jewish Stories — From folklore to historical narrative to Hassidic, Midrashic, and holiday tales, Carla brings to life the rich Jewish oral and written tradition.
Trusting the Heart of World: Sacred Stories from around the world with Storyteller Barry Nienstadt.
Creating Your Spiritual Ethical Will: As a Certified Legacy Facilitator Carla assists individuals and groups in creating their personal stories and blessings for future generations.
From biblical times to modern Israel, from Babylon to Brooklyn, Jews have passed stories from one generation to the next. Through this act of storytelling we create shared identity, values and meaning.
My goal is to bring this precious storytelling heritage to life for the American Jewish community, from whom it was long hidden by barriers of language and geography.
“I have heard and worked with some of the great contemporary Jewish storytellers. I place Marc Young in their company. He has an amazing presence and his narratives are rich with emotional and biblical veracity. To hear him is to learn and to marvel.”
“Marc has gathered a rich, varied treasure chest of Jewish stories. His ability to create sacred space through the art of storytelling is remarkable. He delights adults and children alike.”
Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff
When storyteller Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff performs, biblical figures speak, rabbinic Midrash leaps off the pages of the Talmud, and Judaism’s rich folklore dances to life. Jennifer also performs contemporary stories, using storytelling to inspire children
and adults to explore Judaism and their spirituality. She is a performer, teacher, and coach.
Jennifer's CD, The Growing Season, contains original stories about Tu B'Shvat, Purim, and Passover. The stories, based on traditional sources, were commissioned by the Macks Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore, Maryland. The stories are available on iTunes.
Presently, Jennifer facilitates storytelling training programs for teachers at Krieger Schechter Day School, and for adult educators at Chizuk Amuno Congregation, and the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM). As a consultant for the JMM, she facilitates the Student Immigrant Stories project at Patterson High School in Baltimore, where she coaches immigrant students.
For the past eight years Jennifer has co-taught the “Oral History of the Holocaust” course at Goucher College, individually coaching more than 80 students.
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