‘MN Mammalehs: Stories from the Tribe’ Showcases Local Storytellers

Galit Breen, co-director of the celebrated Listen to Your Mother Twin Cities show for over a decade and the original Minnesota Mammaleh columnist, is directing TC Jewfolk’s first storytelling show, “MN Mammalehs: Stories from the Tribe,”  

On the evening of June 24, the Jewish Twin Cities community will gather for this unique storytelling event aimed at sharing stories of Jewish motherhood. 

Stories from the tribe will feature 12 women on stage telling their true Jewish stories that have a thread to being a Mammaleh – whether that’s about their own Mammaleh or about being a Mammaleh – and will include good, bad, funny, sad, hilarious, and golden moments.

“During this time it’s so important for us Jews to gather and tell our stories, loud and proud,” said Breen.

Breen explained that each storytelling show is meant to tell a cohesive story of the intricacies of being – or having! – a mammaleh. She said, “Our cast of 12 talented storytellers will be led by the amazing Jordana Green, co-host of The Adam & Jordana Show on WCCO Radio.”

“I’m so excited to have Jordana be the show “hand holder” – emcee – carrying the audience from story to story with her warmth.” Breen said, adding, “She’s a perfect addition to this already wonderful show.”

To get a taste of the show and what some of the storytellers are bringing to the bima on June 24th, I spoke with five of the storytellers.


Laura Zimmermann, award-winning author of young adult literature, including her novels “My Eyes Are Up Here” and the Edgar Award-nominated “Just Do This One Thing For Me,” is one of the 12 voices set to share her mammaleh story in June. 

In her day-to-day life in South Minneapolis, she enjoys walking, biking, and exploring the city’s culinary scene.

Zimmermann brings a unique perspective to this Jewish storytelling event—not as a Jewish mother herself, but as a member of a Jewish family through marriage. 

Inclusivity is one of Zimmermann’s motivations for participating in the show. 

“I really like that TC Jewfolk has a very big umbrella about who is actually part of the community,” she said. 

Despite not being Jewish herself, Zimmermann feels connected to the community through her family ties, particularly her Jewish mother-in-law. Her story for the event will explore these intersections of culture and family.

Zimmermann believes that the event will be more than just an evening of stories; it will be a celebration of community and connection.

 “In 2024, we should take every opportunity we can to come together,” she said. “This event is about seeking camaraderie in the community we’re already part of and building new connections.” 


Stacey Dinner-Levin has a background that spans decades in special education and involvement in the local theater scene; however, she is not new to storytelling, having shared holiday stories from her Jewish Heritage at previous “Listen to Your Mother” shows.

“It’s always been a really important experience to represent that way,” she said. “I think it’s so important in terms of community gathering to share our stories.”

At “Stories From the Tribe,” Dinner-Levin will share a story that combines humor with real cultural and personal insights.

“I do have a story… It is something that happened to me and to my son. It was sort of outrageous… you can’t make this stuff up,” she said. 

Not wanting to give too much away, she shared that the narrative centers on a memorable incident involving her son during a school performance.

Dinner-Levin shared her excitement for the event. “It’s a wonderful form of entertainment that is unique … It’s very raw. It’s healing, it’s empowering, and it gives us a safe space,” she said.


Elisa Bernick, a magazine editor and author, including the recently published, “Departure Stories: Betty Crocker Made Matzo Balls and Other Lies,” is no stranger to the power of stories. 

Bernick shared her excitement for the event. “Galit is so wonderful, she’s got such a great vision in general.”

Bernick revealed her inside perspective on the event: “It will combine some of the most delightful things from ‘Listen to Your Mother’, which is live storytelling, real-life stories about motherhood, but this particular show will also emphasize the Jewishness.” 

Of storytelling, she said, “There’s also something sort of terrifying, but also energizing about writing a piece and performing it in front of a live audience … It’s wonderful for both the audience and the storytellers.”

Bernick assures an impactful journey for the audience. She says, “You will feel deeply all sorts of feelings. You will feel very emotional because some of these stories will be sad or traumatic, and some of these stories are hilarious.” 

This sentiment is confirmed by Bernick’s chosen story. She says, “My story has a lot of twists and turns to it because when my husband and I were having our kids, things played out in decision-making in ways that we never could have expected,” she said.

Bernick encourages all to come and watch. “It’s going to be filled with so much delight and comedy and deep feeling,” she said.


Robyn Awend, an artist deeply involved within the Jewish arts scene, is a seasoned storyteller. “I’ve been in four LTYM shows, and anything Galit does is amazing,” she said. 

“I think stories are really, really powerful. They help us better understand one another and at the same time, better understand ourselves.”

Awend shared her vision of the event’s impact on the audience: “I think stories take us through a mix of emotions, especially when you’re going to a storytelling event that features many different storytellers.” 

Awend’s story for “MN Mammalehs: Stories from the Tribe” discusses elements of her own childhood brought into motherhood. “My story is inspired by my favorite childhood book, and how that story has impacted me over the course of my life and into parenthood,” she said. 


Laura Taple has a diverse background, from non-profit fundraising to running a family monument business. She lives in South Minneapolis with her “magical husband, spirited daughter and shoe-eating dog, Kugel.”

“I’m a recovering small business owner in a period of midlife transition trying to figure out what’s next,” Taple said. In her free time, she enjoys brunching with friends, binge-watching Netflix, and planning travels.

Describing what the audience can expect at Stories from the tribe, Taple promised a “magical” experience: “You will hear stories of motherhood that represent the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hilarious.” 

Taple believes in the community-building potential of the event, especially in these challenging times for the Jewish community. 

“Motherhood itself can feel lonely at times…and it can feel particularly lonely right now to be Jewish so I love the idea of an evening dedicated to bringing Jewish women together,” she said. 

Don’t miss out on “MN Mammalehs: Stories from the Tribe” on June 24, 2024—. Get your tickets today!