2 2015

Tell It Like It Is: Portland's Jewish Storytelling Festival (Day 1)

6:30PM - 10:00PM  

Congregation Shaarie Torah: Conservative 920 NW 25th Avenue
Portland, OR

Contact Melissa Bloom

Congregation Shaarie Torah Presents:
Tell It Like It Is: Portland’s Jewish Storytelling Festival

Saturday May 2 – 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 3 –  1:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 12:30 p.m.)

More information about schedule, tickets and more at:

What’s more Jewish than a great story?  

Congregation Shaarie Torah, along with the Jewish Federation of Portland, are please to present Tell It Like It Is: Portland’s Jewish Storytelling Festival this upcoming May 2 & 3 with featured Storytellers: Maggid Cassandra Sagan, Mythteller Brian Rohr and Musician/Teller Eric Stern of Vagabond Opera.  This Festival will bring together classical and maggid-style storytelling, moth-style personal narrative, storytelling workshops for those who want to learn the art, and even events for kids.  The Festival culminates in a performance by the magnificent Bohemian Cabaret ensemble Vagabond Opera.


About The Artists

Cassandra Sagan is an ordained Maggid, a Jewish teacher/preacher/storyteller through the lineage of Reb Zalman Schacter-Shalomi z"l all the way back to the Baal Shem Tov. She has devoted her life to helping others access and express creative brilliance through story, poetry, song, and InterPlay, which she calls "play as a spiritual practice." Cassandra is a designated Leitzah Kedushah, Holy Clown, on the faculty of JSE, the Jewish Spiritual Education Maggid-Educator Training Program where she teaches Personal Narrative and InterPlay Torah study. She has hosted, taught, and told stories at local schools, libraries, synagogues, churches, and the Oregon Jewish Museum, and travels around the country to teach and Tell. Cassandra shares, “I'm a student of Kabbalah and a mosaic artist and I love to make beauty out of brokenness. Through Story we enter the timeless realm, we can lift up/redeem joy from the past and transform the present and the future. Breishit b'ra Elohim: in a beginning, God starts creating. When we engage our creativity, we begin to know God, which is the goal of Judaism. When we tell our story, through words or silence or song or art, we make a tikkun, we help to repair this world. What's not to love?”

Brian Rohr is a performing sacred storyteller whose mission is sharing the ancient art of storytelling as a way to educate, entertain and offer healing to individuals, communities and the living world.  Using cultural folktales as well as stories from the Torah and other sacred texts, Rohr lifts the stories out of their usual written context and brings them to life in the realm of the oral tradition. Through doing so, we are invited to find ourselves within the ancient stories and find a deeper understanding of how the sharing of the stories in this way offers us new perspectives within our tradition.  Rohr has performed and taught for a number of Jewish communities, organization and events, including: the 14th International Jewish Renewal Aleph Kallah, a keynote presenter for teachers at the "Tapestry of Jewish Learning" in Austin, TX, as an Artist-In-Resident at Camp Solomon Schechter located in Olympia, WA, various congregations in Portland, Chicago, Seattle, throughout the Olympic Peninsula and more.  He was honored by JT News as a "10 Under 40" recipient for 2013 by being chosen as one of 10 Jewish people in Washington State under 40 years old whom they consider are doing particularly important and inspirational works within the community, specifically as a storyteller.  According to Rohr “The oral tradition of storytelling offers insight, inspiration and meaning in our own journey as we travel our unique Jewish Path.”  More at: 

Eric Stern is a nationally recognized musician and composer, best known as the founder and artistic director of Vagabond Opera.  Being a song and opera composer (as well as a librettist and stage performer), the progression from storytelling as a musical art form to a spoken form–traditional storytelling– came naturally to him. In New Mexico he co-founded Neshama, a Jewish storytelling and theater festival.  Since coming to Portland, Stern has been featured as a soloist by Portland Story Theater many times over. Here’s what Stern had to say about storytelling in Oregon Jewish Life: “The music and the way they [the synagogues he attends] perform the rituals of Judaism influence my compositions and stage presence.” As a storyteller, Eric is informed and inspired by the Jewish culture. “Jewish people are natural storytellers,” he says. “When you’re a part of a culture that’s been around for a very long time, it informs your storytelling. The stories you tell are derived from stories you’ve heard. You’re the next link in the chain.”  More at:


Contact and More Information

Congregation Shaarie Torah
920 NW 25th Avenue, Portland, OR 97210


Sponsor: Congregation Shaarie Torah