On March 9 and 10 I'm doing two special events at CBI Northampton -- a congregation which shares a name with my shul in North Adams, but is located some 75 minutes away in a college town in the Pioneer Valley.
On Shabbat morning at 12:30pm -- after Shabbat morning services -- I'll give a reading from 70 faces (Phoenicia, 2011) in the synagogue library. I'll share some poems from the collection, as well as some remarks about how the collection came into being and how I see it as part of an extended tradition of creative responses to Torah. I have a few poems I always like to read at an event like this one, and I'll definitely share the poem for the Torah portion of that week, but I'm also open to share poems which arise out of other parshiyot if people have requests.
And on Sunday morning at 9:45am, I'll be teaching a Torah poetry workshop on the stage of the CBI Northampton social hall. We'll begin with some writing exercises to get our creative muscles limbered up, then move into drafting Torah poems of our own (if you have a favorite story in Torah -- or, for that matter, a story which has always troubled / challenged you -- I can guide you through working with that text) and then will share our poems and talk about them in a safe, welcoming space.
This year, CBI Northampton's adult education programs all dovetail with their learning theme for the year, a focus on ecology and the environment -- so in the Torah poems workshop, I'll be inviting us to be attentive not only to the details of the Torah text but also to the ways in which the natural world manifests in the Torah and in our poems.
All are welcome; if you're in the region, please join us!