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The (Not) Lost Art of Storytelling

The (Not) Lost Art of Storytelling

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Remember the days of fresh cookies, milk and Grandma’s stories?

There are many reasons for nostalgia for the “olden days.”

One of them: We had time to relate and listen to stories. The stories were told without slideshows, blaring TV screens and cute WhatsApp videos. It was just a loving relative or family friend regaling us with tales of his or her life.

Another memory: letters. We couldn’t get away with describing our day with a smiley face with its tongue stuck out. “LOL” wasn’t a way to describe our emotional reaction to an event. We actually wrote a paragraph or two describing our feelings. If I want to get to know my parents on a deeper level, I can read their letters. If my kids will one day want to understand my story, they will have to read my WhatsApp messages and figure out my emotional world through the emoji I chose to express myself at a specific moment.

Oy vay ☹.

Whatever happened to articulation, detail and nuance?

Passover is around the bend. Eight days of stories and drama. No, the story of Exodus will not be told on the screen while we chew popcorn and sip Coke. It will be told around an elegantly laid table by beautifully dressed family members, as our children sing songs and proudly show off their knowledge of a story of slaves who were redeemed by G‑d and a courageous leader named Moses.

Grandparents, parents, children, uncles and aunts will all sit around the table and practice the lost art of storytelling and verbal expression, just as our ancestors have done for thousands of years. We will sing the same songs. We will share the same stories. We will kvetch about the same matzah. We will share hugs and laughs, we will tease and take pride in our little angels, just like millions of parents and grandparents will do all over the world and have done all throughout history.

On Seder night, we will transcend time and space. Jews of every stripe and color will unite in one song, from Kathmandu to Anchorage, from the beginning of Jewish history until today. We will touch infinity and Jewish eternity in one of our most celebrated symbols—the Passover Seder.

Enjoy the journey.

Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous Washington, DC April 12, 2016

Amen v' Amen !!!😉 (Sorry, couldn't help but to add one emoji to this) from a 77 year old Savta I guess it's OK? Reply

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