Victoria Hanna is a “vocal artist” - not a singer. What does that mean? The Israeli artist has set herself the aim of creating art through the combined use of language, voice and music. And she has achieved that to a most astonishing degree. Victoria Hanna moves between ancient music and contemporary beats, between philosophical and religious texts. Her compositions are shaped by diverse vocal techniques, both sung and spoken. She explores the boundaries of the human voice, plays with letters, recites the Aleph-Bet.
Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). She has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tablet and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown.
Not only does the long-view, slow and steady marathon-style perspective serve the process of creativity in general and for writing poetry more specifically, but even more so, it aids in the ability to stay committed to a 7.5 year long text study where you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Out with the old expression of “practice makes perfect” and in with the new of “practice makes better.”
Bluth is currently studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Har El, a co-ed Orthodox Rabbinical program in Jerusalem. She is the Founder and Educational Director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a program for Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice volunteer work, focused on Jewish learning. Born in Toronto to two amateur Klezmorim, Bluth lives in a plant-filled home in Yafo.
Studying Torah in the modern age can be a tricky endeavor sometimes. Engaging with ideas from 3,000 years ago will inevitably lead to a culture clash between our modern sensibilities and those from the Iron Age of the Ancient Near East.
With stories that touch on the necessity for war, strict hierarchies, and with enough gender insensitivities to fill an entire semester long course for ‘smashing the patriarchy’ it can be very challenging to hang in with the process of talmud torah.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the 929 project is seeing how the daily chapter interacts with the regular Jewish calendar. Whether it is the weekly Torah portion, the daily prayers, or a special holiday reading - they all have connections to the stories that we read throughout this two and a half year cycle. Recently, I found one such connection particularly inspiring as it reminded me the majesty of stories.