About Melissa

A Love Affair with Torah

At the turn of the millennium, in 2001, I fell in love—with the Torah. Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield (of blessed memory) showed me how to find deeper meanings beneath the Hebrew sentences, and I discovered a new world.

I had to explore this world as a writer, so I began writing and delivering Torah monologues, first-person stories imagining what the characters in the Torah were thinking.  Then I learned Biblical Hebrew so I could find out what might be going on behind the English translations. I discovered that I love translating the Torah, as well as researching Torah commentary, so in 2009 I started writing my blog, “Torahsparks”. Every week I post an essay sharing my own insights about the weekly Torah portion. (See BLOG tab above.)

Meanwhile, I went to ALEPH’s two-year Davennen Leadership Training Institute, and led many services at P’nai Or of Portland. In January of 2012, I completed another two-year training program and became a maggidah, a professional Jewish storyteller, speaker, and preacher. Naturally I have also been teaching classes, both Torah study and creative workshops. After all, the Hebrew word torah  means “teaching”.

What a blessing to spend so much of my time doing work I love!

I am currently putting together a book on the characters in Genesis. The chapter for each Torah portion will include one of my Torah monologues and a scholarly essay based on some of my blog posts.  Eventually I hope to get back to writing novels—both finishing the fantasy trilogy I wrote years ago, and writing about the life of Moses’ wife, Tzipporah.  I’m bursting with ideas!

 

I am available to deliver Torah monologues, tell stories, teach, and lead services.  E-mail me at melissatzp@gmail.com.

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