The Joys and Oys of Being Jewish

March 27, 2014
BY Melissa Gerr
An evening of personal stories capture irony, essence and humor of Jewish life
Bolton Street Synagogue member Steve Snyder rehearses for “It’s Complicated: Stories about the Joys and Oys of  Contemporary Jewish Life” Stoop  Storytelling at the synagogue.  (Photos Melissa Gerr

Bolton Street Synagogue member Steve Snyder rehearses for “It’s Complicated: Stories about the Joys and Oys of
Contemporary Jewish Life” Stoop
Storytelling at the synagogue.
(Photos Melissa Gerr

Bolton Street Synagogue and The Stoop Storytelling Series are teaming up to present “It’s Complicated: Stories about the Joys and Oys of Contemporary Jewish Life.” The April 5 event will feature six storytellers, some of whom are well-known locals, telling their own personal stories — humorous, poignant and surprising  — about being Jewish.

WBAL-TV anchor Deborah Weiner, author and commentator Marion Winik, public relations executive Greg Abel, educator and long-time Bolton Street member Steve Snyder, devoted Orioles fan Ira Gewanter and philanthropist and psychotherapist Lois Feinblatt will take the stage for the storytelling event.

Plans for the show have been in the making for about a year; Bolton Street member and Stoop fan Nancy Savage contacted Stoop hosts Jessica Myles Henkin and Laura Wexler to see if collaboration could happen. The Stoop has collaborated with several other organizations in the area to co-present shows.

“The model [of Stoop Storytelling] is really simple; it’s really powerful and really flexible,” said Wexler. “The model can be used for an organization to explore a certain theme, talk about its history, build community and inspire people. It’s a simple model that really works.”

Each performer has five minutes to tell their tale. The topics at Bolton Street’s event will range from the story of a blind date with one of the most infamous female figures of the 20th century, a striking near-death experience that brought the teller closer to Judaism, the conflicts that can arise when a devout Jew is also a devout Orioles fan and a newscaster’s challenge as a Jew starting her career in the Deep South. Laughs and tears are guaranteed, said organizers.

Laura Wexler (left) and Jessica Myles Henkin watch the rehearsal for the  upcoming Stoop Storytelling performance at Bolton Street Synagogue.

Laura Wexler (left) and Jessica Myles Henkin watch the rehearsal for the
upcoming Stoop Storytelling performance at Bolton Street Synagogue.

As with all of the Stoop shows, audience members will be invited to submit their names into a lottery for a chance to tell their own story during the show.

The co-chairs of the event include decades-long synagogue members Ken and Jeannette Karpay, Peggy Brennecke and Mark Hyman.

“We decided this would be a great community building event,” said Hyman. “We surrounded it with food, drink and live music to make it a fundraiser. It’s for our members, for the larger Jewish community and for our neighborhood as well. We’re always looking for opportunities to bring in our neighbors.”

Bolton Street Synagogue is located at 212 W. Cold Spring Lane in Baltimore. The event begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m.; storytelling begins at 8:30 with dessert at 9:30. Proceeds from the event will benefit Bolton Street Synagogue’s educational programs. The event will also feature a raffle for Ravens tickets and a silent auction.

Auction items include lunch with Nobel Prize winner Adam Riess, also a member of Bolton Street congregation; a week at a condo in Ocean City; lunch for 25 at Chipotle; a day on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay and, perhaps the most coveted prize of all, a parking space for High Holidays in the synagogue’s main lot.

For past Stoop Storytelling shows go to stoopstorytelling.com/shows/past.

IT’S COMPLICATED: STORIES OF THE JOYS AND OYS
OF CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LIFE’
• Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
• Tickets can be purchased in advance for $50 at www.StoopBoltonStreet.eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit Bolton Street Synagogue’s educational programs. The event will also feature a silent auction, a raffle for Ravens tickets, food, drinks and live music.

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