About Melissa

A Love Affair with Torah

At the turn of the millennium 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. In 2009 I started sharing my own translations and commentary in a blog … which I moved to WordPress in 2012.

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 in 2008-9, 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, professional Jewish storyteller and preacher. Naturally I have also been teaching classes, both Torah study and creative workshops. After all, the Hebrew word torah  means “teaching”.

Melissa the maggidah

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

I am currently writing a book on the moral psychology of the characters in Genesis. 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.