This pre-Passover, while browning farfel and peeling yams, LILITH suggests the mood-setting company of storyteller Judith Black. Her two new audiotapes. Waiting for Elijah and Adult Children of . . . Parents, stir us into warm holiday anticipation. Both tapes, appropriate for adults and children, are very funny, and sometimes quite moving.
In one selection on Waiting for Elijah, Black impersonates a young girl up in her bedroom before the Seder, fantasizing about the dreaded relatives” imminent arrival. Setting the Pesach table with her mother, stealing some Barton’s chocolates to eat on her bedspread, the girl is surprised because suddenly everything changes—now that she’s 13. Another tale is a wistful rendition of Isaac Peretz’s Yiddish story about Elijah visiting a shtetl. Side Two: One long tale told by Miriam the Prophet as a very old grandmother. Miriam recounts the Exodus According To Her, and she shleps us right beside her through the nasty wilderness. As the Hagaddah requires—we ourselves emigrate vividly from Egypt.
The second tape is a more generic evocation of suburban Jewish-American experience, though it still nicely accompanies skimming chicken soup and chopping walnuts. Black tells stories as a new arrivee to middle age: about her phone conversations with her aging Floridian parents; about her childhood bedroom—desperate refuge from agonizing reality; about Passover; and about becoming, herself, an aging Jewish parent.
Judith Black is also available for storytelling performances on all sorts of Jewish and social action themes: tales of greenhorns. Mother Jones’ unionizing, midrash and faith, and more. To order these tapes (that so feel like our own experience), send $11.50 for Waiting for Elijah and/or $13.50 for Adult Children of . . . Parents to: Judith Black, 33 Prospect St.. Marblehead, MA 01945, 617-631-4417