Koreh: Writers in the Sanctuary

A series co-created by Alex Leslie and Rabbi Hannah Dresner

KOREH/קרא is a series of events featuring Or Shalom writers and friends reading in the Or Shalom sanctuary and online. The evenings alternate between curated readings and story/poetry slams inviting your contributions.

In exploring the connection between artistic expression and identity, our intention is to honour the writing and story-telling talent in the greater Or Shalom community and to open Or Shalom as space where artistic practice is celebrated.

Karen X. Tulchinsky a.k.a. Aren reads from his novel-in-progress set in 1930s Berlin. (2018)

Past Evenings:

Saturday, August 28, 2021, 8 p.m.
Koreh Slam for Selichot 5782

This year’s Selichot gathering – our opening of the High Holiday season – reflects on the question, Where Can Wisdom Be Found? Over these past 18 months of pandemic, we’ve all sought steadiness in different places – public health officers and the CBC, but also our gardens, animal companions and kitchens. Now, Val Dolgin, Cecil Herschler, Yudel Huberman, Dave Kauffman, Els Kushner, Gloria Levy, Dael Segal, and Tiferet Welch speak to their experience. What wisdom emerges as we approach Rosh Hashanah? Featuring singers and musicians Martin Gotfrit, Avril Orloff, Myran Rabinowitz, Wendy Rubin, and Tiferet Welch as well as Harriet Frost and Dave Kauffman. This evening is curated by Rabbi Hannah, Alex Leslie and Wendy Rubin.

Saturday, January 16, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
Darkness: A Koreh Open Mic

In the midst of this winter darkness, we invite stories that emerge from this period of gestation, slow becoming, and generative solitudes. For some of us this is a dark night of the soul, for others a time for an intensified interiority and its magic. We also welcome the darkly humorous, the absurd and the nonsensical aspects of journeying through this time.

No registration is required to attend this event, all are welcome.

Saturday, September 12, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

This is Real and We are Totally Unprepared 
A slam of prayers and poems generated by this year’s strange crossing into the new year. What are our stories about how this time has sharpened our sense of what’s vital? Evening punctuated by jazz riffs on High Holiday melodies.

Saturday, February 1, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

The winter 5780 edition of Koreh was an open mic on the theme of Journeys, featuring writers: Adrienne Drobnies, Rachel Rose, and Gloria Levi. Also, with Ariel Martz Oberlander and a short film by Danny Fedder.



Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Island in Time: Rest and Restoration

A Shabbat evening open mic: stories about what it means to rest and re-ensoul. What repose is for you? How you create sacred time, or what makes time stop for you? What your stories are that replenish? Stories about your longing for rest. Poems about your touchstone for restoration. What the sabbaths of our lives are? And, in a world that can push us towards burn-out, how we know how to stop?


Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, 5:15 p.m.
In the Belly of the Whale: A Chorus of Human and Whale Voices and Prayers of Supplication

Created in collaboration with guest composer Leah Abramson. Five community members offered five prayers of supplication, answering, what you call into being for yourself? for humanity? for the earth?

This evening of Koreh was the Yom Kippur Mincha that took place at the JCC Wosk Auditorium.


Leah Abramson is a singer, composer, and instructor from Vancouver, B.C. After touring internationally with indie rock and folk bands, as well as her previous project, The Abramson Singers, Leah recently released her fourth album of original songs. Along with her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (focus on lyrics) at the University of British Columbia, Leah has studied classical music at Capilano University, and traditional Appalachian balladry. Leah teaches and facilitates workshops to people of all ages, and has taught at the University of British Columbia (Creative Writing), The Roundhouse, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch), and non-profit organization Instruments of Change.

Saturday, March 30, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Mame Loshn
Co-sponsored by Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture

Mame Loshn, which means mother tongues, featured Faith Jones, Seymour Levitan, Rachel Mines, and Helen Mintz, four Yiddish translators who presented a range of Yiddish works from Ashkenazi communities, in English translation. Their works range from fiction to poetry to erotica. Amal Rana presented a work-in-progress exploring her relationship to her white Jewish grandmother and growing up in a mixed faith, mixed raced family. A mix of memoir and poetry. Read more about the presenters.

Sunday, January 20, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Tu B’Sh’vat Open Mic

Koreh for Tu B’Shvat (the New Year for Trees). The open mic filled up fast with folks wanting to share a story, poem, or song about the human relationship with the environment. The lineup included featured writers Mark Winston and Renée Sarojini Saklikar.

We acknowledge that this event took place on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh people.


Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
KOREH: Readings from the work of Aren Tulchinsky, Leah HorlickRhea Tregebov, and Amal Rana

These award-winning authors and poets read from new works and works-in-progress on the topic of roots and family.

Read more about each of our writers.

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, 8 p.m.
Wayward Wandering and Return, a Teshuvah-themed story slam for the eve of Selichot.

This evening included six five-minute slam stories and an original work by story teller Cecil Hershler.

The evening began with Havdalah and ended with a Kol Nidre improvisation played by Dave Kauffman and Martin Gotfrit.



Never been to Or Shalom? Come see what our warm community is all about. Email our program coordinator if you’d like to connect with someone at our synagogue.