Selichot Story Slam

This is Real and we are Completely Unprepared

Alan Lew

A Selichot Story Slam

Saturday, September 12
8 p.m.

Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 878 5578 9173
Passcode: 579611

Our storytelling series Koreh enters its third year with an invitation to share in a Selichot program. The pandemic has thrown a wrench in the way we expect our daily stories to unfold — commutes, office lunches, graduations, and summer vacations. The scripts of our shared lives have been diverted. After months of strict limitations, we are preparing for the beginning of a new story, which is already unfolding in the midst of protests, unrest and social injustice. This period of time — of retreat, loss, focus, chaos, loneliness, and unexpected connections — may be looked back on as a crossing, a bridge from one way of being to another.

For this Koreh, Or Shalom writers and friends will be featuring their prayers, poems, and stories generated by this strange process of evolution and chaos, this crossing. As we move into a new year, what are our stories about how this time has sharpened our sense of what’s vital? What loads can we lighten? What seems superfluous to life now? What is the special quality of this time? What is the name of this transformation?

Our readers are:

  • Aren X Tulchinsky
  • Cecil Hershler
  • Els Kushner
  • Katherine Zemliya
  • Mark Winston
  • Philippe Tortell
  • Rhea Tregebov
  • Shelley Stein-Wotten
  • Tiferet Welch
  • Val Dolgin

The program is opening and closing with two Jazz interpretations of Kol Nidre with musicians Martin Gotfrit, Dave Kauffman, Noah Gotfrit, and Wendy Rubin. Anyone is welcome to be in the audience.

From ‘This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared – The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation’ by Rabbi Alan Lew:

“Then we drove up the coast to Gualala, and I found myself heading straight for that spot in the redwoods where the North and South Forks of the Gualala River converge [where Lew went often in his 20’s]. My daughter and I got out of the car and stood together by this spot, watching the currents swirl together. The water was green and blue and brown. Each pebble beneath our feet was distinct, had been brought there by the movements of the current – by change and destiny and design. And I realized that if I had never lived here with my first wife, then the next thing in my life would not have happened, nor the next, nor any of the other things that led me to my present life – which had made me whole. Which had healed me.

And I realized something else. Something astonishing. This place we were standing in, this completely fluid place – this place of endlessly swirling currents with nothing to hold on to, nothing solid or substantial about it, this place made of water and light and movement – this was my home. I had come home. 

Standing in that river I could feel all the loss in my life – all the people I had loved who were no longer there, all the people I loved now who were slipping away, all the things I had hoped for myself and my family which hadn’t happened and which I now realized never would. But I could also feel the strength and the love that had come in the wake of this loss.” 

And in this place, it was healing to feel all that – there was a fluid sense of wholeness. I had come home. I had made Teshuvah. I could feel the transforming power of the time spent circling the bases.”

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