Monday, June 8, 2009

A fabulous weekend!

I sit here at my computer, in the background listening to the wonderful music of Allan
Merovitz, whose CD I purchased while I was at the Jewish Writer's Festival in Hamilton.

The music brings it all back to me, the wonderful fellowship of the congregation, the spoken word, and the two workshops I had the pleasure of attending.

Temple Anshe Sholom is conveniently located on Cline Ave. North and can be reached by both car and bus. When you get off the bus at the TD Bank in Westdale, immediately go down Cline N. and you will see the yellow brick building. The 5C bus passes its corner.

It is of the Reform Tradition which means that men and women mix freely, unlike other more conservative branches of Judaism.

Next year, I plan to attend all three days of the Festival as I found it extremely worthwhile and feel that I have made many new acquaintances among the people there.

I can only talk about the two days I attended, Saturday and Sunday. It started at 12 noon with a lovely luncheon which was included in the cost of the ticket $10.00. We were then entertained by Allan Merovitz with songs and stories. He is a marvelous entertainer and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance.

There was a good panel discussion with Panelists Isa Milman, Sharon H. Nelson, Edeet Ravel, Steve Stern and J.J. Steinfeld. Their subject was "Where is the Home for the Jewish Writer?"

Again, Allan Merovitz tied everything together with more songs.

Concurrent Workshops ran from 3-4:30ish .

The choices were :

Reading/discussion- Edeet Ravel.

Presentation including slides and poetry, The Making of Prairie Kaddish. Kaddish, for those who may not know it, are prayers for the dead.

Ellen Jaffe, presentation/writing exercise, "Writing for children - Passing on the Legacy."

Steve Stern - Reading/discussion on his works and his sources.

J.J. Steinfeld, Reading/discussion on his latest work, Word Burials.

Karen Shenfeld, discussion/writing - The Poet and the Child.

I chose Ellen Jaffe's course and enjoyed it although I had some difficulty in hearing in that particular room. We did one writing exercise on candles and the light they shine. I really enjoyed that. I liked her idea of objects leading us into writing and the Menorah candles was a good choice. I used to light them many years ago but somehow in my many moves, I have lost mine. I now know where I can buy another here in Hamilton which is good!

After the workshops, one could return home or explore Westdale until the evening session began. I went home and rested for a short while, then took the bus back.

The evening was fabulous with a Literary Cabaret and Havdalah ceremony, as well as Klezmer music with Allan Merovitz. For those who may not know what a Havdalah ceremony is, it is a beautiful and meaningful service which symbolizes the end of the Sabbath.

I particularly found this most moving, as we all held hands and sang praises to God. I felt so "at home" there and was so happy during this ceremony.

Laughter and merriment followed with the klezmer music. I was chosen as the bride and my groom was chosen for me. He was a very wonderful fellow and we hit it off quite well, although I had never met him before. Even his mother seemed to approve!

The dancers came up to us in three waves wishing us blessings, the last wave made us laugh as the dancers had to try and frighten us. I was laughing so hard that I wouldn't have been frightened by anything at that moment!

After that dance, we were asked to stand in the middle of the dancers and they danced around us.

Ah, such a wedding I have never had! That kind of wedding I could handle!

One of my circle of friends called me up when I was home for the super break and asked if she could come, so I came back with her. I think she found it quite strange, as she is from Korea.
I hope she had a good time, it certainly was an experience she will not forget.

Such a fine day, such fine company!

Sunday, June 7th, 2009.

The day commenced quite early, to be precise 10 a.m. I got there about 9:30 as the 5C bus arrived just as I got to the bus stop. It is only a five or ten minute ride.

Workshops were the first item on the Agenda.

There were six choices again:

Barry Rosen - Storytelling Presentation.
Twyla Hendry - On Being a Leonard Cohen Fan.
Sharon H. Nelson - Connections between cooking, recipes and poetry.
Ron Ruskin - Creativity and Pain
Lil Blume - Writing Your Jewish Family Stories and Memoirs
Steve Mayoff - Turning Family Stories into Art.

I chose Ron Ruskin's presentation and I was fortunate that he sat right beside me so I could hear every word he said. Dr. Ruskin's talk was marvelous. Rabbi Ruskin, who is now retired, also sat in his session as did his Auntie. Dr. Ruskin showed us how humour helps even bad situations. With his permission, I took his picture and sent it to him via e-mail the next day. He replied with a nice comment via e-mail shortly after.

Nosh was the next thing to happen. Nosh is now used fairly often for a light meal or snack between events. As usual, the congregation outdid itself with delicious refreshments.

Among other things they had bagels from the Locke Street bakery which were to die for, as well as several different kinds of yummy cream cheeses, fruits, beverages etc. etc.

The play came next. It was very good. J.J. Steinfeld of P.E.I. wrote a very entertaining play and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even Rabbi Cohen was in it as was dear Aha Blume.

What a lark! Some pretty good home truths were told as well during the course of the play about how some doctors talk down to their patients!

I was so sorry that the event was over, but decided to walk over to Ken and Jody's place which was just around the corner. They were not home so I decided to walk to the bus stop and go home as I was going out that evening to Lit Live. My name was called and there was my son running towards me. The three of us spent a pleasant time together and then they drove me back home.

Lit Live was also splendid. Some of the same authors were reading there and so my pleasure was extended even further. I had hoped to see one of my friends there but I think he was just too tired to come out again.

It is a good thing that events like this do not happen every weekend or one would become very exhausted!

1 comment:

princess-anna said...

Hi Mom

you had a great time at the Jewish Writers festival. I would love to have been there with you. I lots of nice music that I listen to once in a while and may listen to it today because it is blessing me. You sure brightened up my day already