Monday, October 20, 2008

New at Beth Shalom

Writing the Jewish Self

Each of us who identifies as a Jew comprises diverse backgrounds of Jewish (and non-Jewish) experiences that contribute to the workings of Congregation Beth Shalom and the larger community. Through in-class writing exercises we will develop tools to record life events. While I use poems to trigger writing and to uncover silences within us, all written forms are encouraged -- diaries, fragments, stories, poems, memoirs, dreams, recipes, lists, whatever we discover.

Participants interview each other, write poetic dyads, read their work and sometimes combine writings with collage art. The group is structured, yet informal. It is organized as a personal development or creative expression's group. We do no critiquing. Our primary goal is to create a safe and nurturing environment so we can write, speak and breathe ourselves into the world.

Writing the Jewish Self is scheduled to take place at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Wednesday nights, November 5, 12, 19 and December 3, 10, 17 (6 sessions) from 7:00-8:30pm. Cost: $162 for members, $180 for non-members. Writer Esther Altshul Helfgott is the instructor. Proceeds go to the Homeless to Renter Program established by Temple Beth Am and administered by the Jewish Family Service. Please register for the class by calling Beth Shalom at 524-0075.

Esther Altshul Helfgott is a non-fiction writer, teacher and poet. She believes everyone has a story to tell and, with practice and encouragement, everyone can write. Esther's work has appeared in more than sixty journals and periodicals on-line and in-print. She has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington and has been nurturing writers through her It’s About Time Writers Reading Series (now at Ballard Library) for 18 years. For more information www.estherhelfgott.com

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