Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reapproaching the Torah Service

I just attended a fascinating session by Amichai Lau-Lavi (who is the founder and director of Storahtelling) at the Limmud Conference titled "Meet the Maven".  The session introduced the historical role of the maven - also known as a miturgaman (translator) - from the time of Ezra the Scribe.  The job of the maven was to inform and transform the Torah experience for those who didn't understand the original text.

What I thought was really important to share was Lau-Lavi's diagnosis that we have live in a time when most readers don't understand what goes on in the Torah service or are just uninterested.  He aims to reach back to a lost practice of having a skilled and trained  'maven' translate the Torah reading to the modern reader (the profession ceased almost 1,000 years ago).  There is a serious pedagogical approach behind his argument, one that I suggest you follow the link to read more about.

I am presently looking for other organizations and initiatives that are looking to reapproach tefilla in synagogues and schools.  If you know of or hear about creative ideas similar to the concept of Storahtelling, please share it with me and the readers.

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