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Svetlana Tchernov

Julia Elbaze and Channh Greenfield

Aubrey Davis

Josh Winestock


Jane Enkin's Review of Limmud 2014 and the Arts

by Jane Enkin, March 6, 2014


[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of three reports by Jane Enkin  on Limmud 2014.]


I had the opportunity to look in on a few arts based Limmud sessions and experience a couple in depth. (  This successful event was put on by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.)

There were calm, focused people producing beautiful work in the art workshops. Svetlana Tchernov guided students as they decorated wooden hamsas, and teens Julia Elbaze and Channah Greenfield taught people to use templates, resists and flowing colours to paint silk challah covers.

In 1985, nine Winnipeg cantors presented “Songs of Our People.” One of the singers, Michael Eskin, introduced his newly released CD, an archival recording of that long ago concert. This treasure lets us hear an extraordinary range in approaches to cantorial singing, each beautiful and touching. To purchase the CD, contact Eskin at [email protected].


Aubrey Davis Visiting Storyteller

Aubrey Davis, acclaimed Toronto storyteller and author, presented to a happy group of children through the PJ Library program in the morning, and then told stories for adults. At lunchtime, he gave the whole Limmud community a taste of the wise/foolish holy teacher Nasrudin, known in stories throughout the Middle East. Those who attended Davis' afternoon class were treated to more Nasrudin tales, since tradition dictates that if one Nasrudin story is told, seven will be told. (Watch out if you get a Winnipeg storyteller started; we know lots of Nasrudin stories...)

Davis asked us to listen for layers of meaning in stories, without explicitly translating those layers into words. Stories can be experienced in something akin to a dream state. It was wonderful to hear him tell his rich version of the old folk tale “Nail Broth,” which he retold in his picture book “Bone Button Borsht.” His research led him to the version of “The Wooden Sword'” told in Afghanistan, different from any he had heard before.

Davis does significant work with Canadian non-profit raising funds for literacy in Canada, Afghanistan and Mexico.

Winnipeg has an active storytelling culture. Coming up this month: Stone Soup Story Cafe Friday March 7; Storytelling Forum Mondays March 10 and 17; Dragon Tales with storytelling, dragon dance and Chinese meal Thursday March 20.

For details, see

Josh Winestock
Radical Jewish Culture: John Zorn's Search for Jewish Identity Through Avant-Grade and Experimental Music

Josh Winestock taught about New York composer/experimental musician John Zorn and his company Tzadik Records, and the phenomenon of Radical Jewish Culture. Winestock quoted musician Frank London's explanation that “the music is not a 'revolutionary' effort to get rid of the old but a 'radical' reconnecting with roots.” John Zorn seeks out musicians in many disciplines and says, “Go make Jewish music,” allowing each to define “Jewish” in their own way. Some of their music draws on the klezmer revival and Ashkenazi and Mizrakhi folk music, but these overt references are not required – the Tzadik Records definition of “Jewish” is more subtle and more challenging.

I've heard Winestock teach at Limmud twice now. His knowledge and resources are extraordinary, and I'm ready now to hear more of his personal perspective, his own opinions about the musicians he presents and their significance to him.

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