Stories We Tell

Stories We Tell: How We Are Better

For three years, this podcast has brought you a new episode nearly every single week, adding up to more than 160 stories designed to bring a little bit of joy and wisdom into your lives. For now, we're taking a little break – but Rabbi Leora Kaye has one final story to share.

Stories We Tell: God's Miracle

After 40 years in the desert, the Israelites reached the Land of Canaan. When they got there, they saw wheat and trees and fruit—things they had never seen before after spending their lives in the desert. But one woman remembers her mother describing plants and how they grow, so how does she explain it to her daughter? Cantor Rosalie Will retells the story. For a written version of the story, see “Gods Miracles” by Rabbi Edward H. Garsek in Three Times Chai: 54 Rabbis Tell Their Favorite Stories edited by Laney Katz Becker.

Stories We Tell: The Sultan's Horns

The sultan hated getting haircuts because of his big secret: He had horns on top of his head! He was so afraid that people would find out that he threw every barber who cut his hair in prison. Finally, the only barber left in town was summoned to the sultan. Would he be thrown in prison like the barbers before him? Rabbi Mark Kaiserman retells the story. For a written version, see The Sultan’s Horns in “The Jewish Story Finder” by Sharon Barcan Elswit.

Stories We Tell: The Old Torah

How important is the history of your family? Maybe you have a family ledger or an old book that carries the events, wisdom, and dreams of those who have passed on. This week, author and puppeteer Marilyn Price tells a story about such a book in “The Old Torah” and shows just how priceless our families’ stories truly are.

Stories We Tell: The Spoonful of Oil

There was a young man who wanted to learn the secret of happiness. He sought out the advice of a wise man, who was too busy to talk with him at that moment but gave him a task: walk around and carry a spoon with two drops of oil and be careful to not let them spill. Listen to find out how this seemingly strange assignment taught the boy an important lesson.

Stories We Tell: A Blank Letter

Is there someone in your life with whom you can share a thousand words without saying anything at all? Has there been a time, maybe in recent weeks, when all you needed was someone to just “be there” for you, or when someone needed you to just “be there” for them? This week, we hear a story from Rabbi Sari Laufer, director of congregational engagement at Stephen Wise Temple (Los Angeles, CA) about two friends separated by distance but closely connected in ways only they can understand.

Stories We Tell: Grandma's Challah

Food is such an important part of Jewish history and culture, and for many of us, there’s nothing quite like the food our grandparents made for us as children. This week, author and puppeteer Marilyn Price tells the story of a king who wants nothing more than to taste the challah his grandmother used to make for him, and how something as simple as love can turn great food into something even better. To learn more about Marilyn, her puppetry, and her storytelling, you can visit her website at

Stories We Tell: Two Frogs and a Little Encouragement

Has there ever been a moment when you wanted to give up on a goal because others said it was too hard? Has there ever been a moment when it seemed like all you could hear were cheers of encouragement to keep going? This week, we hear a story about two frogs who were in this exact same situation from Rabbi Rachel Greengrass of Temple Beth Am (Pinecrest, FL)

Stories We Tell: How Do You Use It

Have you ever had a great idea that wasn’t useful until you applied it? This week, join Rabbi Phyllis Sommer of Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL, as she tells the story of a rabbi and a soap maker who explore this idea and realize their professions have more in common than they might have thought.