Thursday, May 9, 2013
Last Sunday the historic Provincetown Playhouse in New York's Greenwich Village was the scene of a visit to Chelm, the fictional Eastern European town of fools, presided over by internationally renowned storyteller Peninnah Schram.
In a program of tales from Jewish folklore, Schram presented folklore from the Sephardic and Ashkenazic oral traditions that included intrigue, clever wit, and chokhma (wisdom).
A few of these stories were captured on video and today we're sharing one of the classic Chelm stories, The Debate Over the Sun and the Moon.
In 1970 Peninnah Schram started recording books for the blind at the Jewish Braille Institute. That experience inspired her to begin to teach Jewish storytelling as a separate subject, and in 1974 she taught her first course on Jewish storytelling. In the same year she started several other groundbreaking projects: She became "storyteller-in-residence" at The Jewish Museum, and she recorded three record albums and broadcast two storytelling series on radio. Some of this recorded material is now in the National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting.
Schram is the Founding Director of the Jewish Storytelling Center. She has told stories in America, Canada, England, and Israel, at synagogues, festivals, conferences, colleges, organizations, camps, and schools. She is also a catalyst, sparking ideas, inspiring others to tell stories, and creating places for other storytellers to gather and share stories.
Several of her collections of folktales have been published by Jason Aronson Inc.: Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another; Eight Tales for Eight Nights: Stories for Chanukah; and Tales of Elijah the Prophet. She is the editor of Chosen Tales: Stories Told by Jewish Storytellers, a collection of the works of 68 storytellers.
In the coming weeks, we'll share some more of Peninnah's stories. In the meantime, enjoy this one!
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)