This event is part of the LABA Kids Sunday series, and we sat down for an interview with one of our all stars, storyteller Jake Goodman.
What is your role in the LABA Kids program?
Jake: Every week, I go into the morning preschool classes at the 14th Street Y and tell stories. The stories I tell are all adapted from the texts the LABA Artists study – but heavily adapted to be both appropriate and, even more, meaningful for the children. First, I hope to help the kids become storytellers themselves. Second, I hope to tell the stories in a way that gives them something to wrestle with – as three and four year olds. Just this last week, for the first time, one of the kids took over the story I was telling and came up with a fabulous, much better ending!!! I almost cried.
How do you tackle the difficult task of teaching two to four year olds ancient texts?
Adapting the stories–many of which include “difficult” plot points and themes like murder, shame, sacrifice, fear, misogyny, heteronormativism, etc.–is definitely challenging and, for that reason, great fun. I mine each story for what I call “the wrestle,” the deep struggle a character experiences; and I adapt “the wrestle” so that it is something that the kids struggle with in their own lives.
Aaaand, I try to make it funny.
Tell us about this Sunday’s event- what makes it unique, and how does it add to the program?
There’s this crazy little story in the Talmud, which is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, about a group of people who refused to even sit at a table unless they knew their fellow diners. Imagine that! (I keep wondering, but what if they were really really really really hungry?!) So, I will be teaming up with two other fabulous LABA artists (visual artist Eve Chwast and dace/movement specialist Julie Gayer Kris) to create a series of experiences that will literally take the kids and their families on a journey – exploring what it really means to come together for Thanksgiving. It’s going to be great fun! (Did I mention, there will be food?!)
How can families use the wisdom of ancient text to enrich their lives?
Tell stories! That’s the simple wisdom I have. Tell the stories.
And, I always like to make clear that my version of the story is just one version. There are others. Maybe the kids can come up with some of the other versions themselves!
This Sunday at 11am we’re putting together the Y’s favorite LABA Kids teaching artists, a great story, and delicious food and creating a multi-disciplinary family event.
Through storytelling, dance and art, you and your child will experience an ancient tale where everyone refused to sit at a table with strangers. Can you imagine that?
LABAKids favorites Jake Goodman, Julie Gayer Kris, and Eve Chwast help us explore what it really means to come together as a family for great food and true thanksgiving. To reserve tickets for the event, Click Here.