Storytelling: Making Our Own Midrash
A midrash is a story about a story in the Bible. Midrash is an expedition into the deeper meanings of the Torah text. The Torah invites us to find those deeper meanings. The ancient rabbis wrote the first midrashim but the art of midrash continues to this day. Rabbi Marc Gellman is one of the pioneers of modern midrash and he will appear in dialogue with Rabbi Ed Feinstein, AJU faculty and Senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue.
Rabbi Marc Gellman is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York, where he was elected to the pulpit in 1981. He holds an earned Ph.D. in Philosophy from Northwestern University and has published many academic articles and lectured widely. He is the author of 11 books including the award-winning book of modern midrashim for children, Does God Have a Big Toe? He also published a second book of modern midrashim for children, God’s Mailbox. As a contributing editor of Moment Magazine, Rabbi Gellman pioneered the field of modern midrash, publishing many midrashim for children and adults since the early 1970s. Rabbi Gellman was the president of the New York Board of Rabbis during the attacks of 9/11 and delivered one of the three principal speeches at the 9/11 memorial service September 24, 2001. He was twice selected as one of the 50 best rabbis in America by Newsweek and wrote a weekly column, The Spiritual State, for Newsweek.com. Rabbi Gellman presently writes a nationally syndicated weekly column of advice on faith and ethics, The God Squad, for Tribune Media Content. Along with his friend, Monsignor Tom Hartman, Rabbi Gellman formed the "God Squad" in 1987. They served as religion correspondents for ABC's Good Morning America. They were also regular guests on the Imus in the Morning program. Rabbi Gellman and Father Hartman were voted by the readers of Newsday as the most important activists and leaders on Long Island of the last century. They have written several books for children and also wrote, Religion for Dummies. Their HBO special based on their book, How Do You Spell God? was awarded the George Foster Peabody Award. Rabbi Gellman has lectured here at VBS, at the American Jewish University, and he teaches Torah class at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Rabbi Gellman is a regular participant in Rabbi Feinstein’s Torah class on Shabbat morning.
Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He has served on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University since 1990 and is an instructor for the Wexner Heritage Program, lecturing widely across the United States. In 1982, Rabbi Feinstein became the founding director of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas, Texas, building the school’s enrollment from 40 to over 500 in eight years, and winning national recognition as center of educational excellence. In 1990, he assumed the position of executive director of Camp Ramah in California, the largest Jewish camp and conference center in the western United States. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993 at the invitation of the renowned Rabbi Harold Schulweis, whom he succeeded as the congregation’s senior rabbi in 2005. Rabbi Feinstein is a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, a member of the school board of Milken Community High School and an active member of AIPAC. A survivor of two bouts of colon cancer, he speaks frequently to cancer support groups all over Southern California.