Judaism has a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, of passing down stories from one generation to the next. To carry on that tradition, Stories We Tell, from ReformJudaism.org, will share a new story with you every Thursday. Whether you listen while driving to work, preparing Shabbat dinner, or taking your kids to school, each episode will give you a new story to reflect on and discuss with the people in your life.
Stories We Tell is a project of the Union for Reform Judaism, a leading voice in the discussion of modern Jewish life.
How Are We Better?
For three years, this podcast has brought you a new episode nearly every single week, adding up to more than 160 stories designed to bring a little bit of joy and wisdom into your lives. For now, we're taking a little break – but Rabbi Leora Kaye has one final story to share.
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After 40 years in the desert, the Israelites reached the Land of Canaan. When they got there, they saw wheat and trees and fruit—things they had never seen before after spending their lives in the desert. But one woman remembers her mother describing plants and how they grow, so how does she explain it to her daughter? Cantor Rosalie Will retells the story. For a written version of the story, see “Gods Miracles” by Rabbi Edward H. Garsek in Three Times Chai: 54 Rabbis Tell Their Favorite Stories edited by Laney Katz Becker.
The Sultan's Horns
The sultan hated getting haircuts because of his big secret: He had horns on top of his head! He was so afraid that people would find out that he threw every barber who cut his hair in prison. Finally, the only barber left in town was summoned to the sultan. Would he be thrown in prison like the barbers before him? Rabbi Mark Kaiserman retells the story. For a written version, see The Sultan’s Horns in “The Jewish Story Finder” by Sharon Barcan Elswit.
A Crack in the Water Bucket
Back in the days before indoor plumbing, water carriers would bring water to those who needed it. One water carrier carried the same two buckets each day, and even though one of them had a leak, he never seemed to do anything about it. The reason why teaches an important lesson about finding blessings, even when things may seem broken. Cantor Ellen Dreskin tells the story.
The Old Torah
How important is the history of your family? Maybe you have a family ledger or an old book that carries the events, wisdom, and dreams of those who have passed on. This week, author and puppeteer Marilyn Price tells a story about such a book in “The Old Torah” and shows just how priceless our families’ stories truly are.
The Spoonful of Oil
There was a young man who wanted to learn the secret of happiness. He sought out the advice of a wise man, who was too busy to talk with him at that moment but gave him a task: walk around and carry a spoon with two drops of oil and be careful to not let them spill. Listen to find out how this seemingly strange assignment taught the boy an important lesson.
My wonderful companion
I am a Jew of choice living in a country (Philippines) without a reformed Judaism community. This podcast along with Rabbi Rick Jacobs’ “on the other hand” have been my resource to continue my Jewish learning and to connect to my inner self, as I reflect on the meaning of the stories to my Jewish life. Thank you so much for these stories, and please keep this podcast doing. This means so much to me.
Best way to learn
I am converting and feel like hearing these stories reaches me more than anything I can read. They are obviously so much more than just the words spoken. It gives cultural knowledge, important values and it has been wonderful to hear. I feel more like I understand and feel less outside looking in.
Important work for our tradition
Thank you for making our rich tradition of storytelling so accessible each week.