What is SermonSlam?
SermonSlam is a new event format for delivering and hearing short sermons and other Jewish-themed performance art.
What’s a SermonSlam “performance?”
Performances should be related to Torah in some way. Beyond that, there are no rules—it can look like a sermon, or a poem, or a short story, or anything else. It can be funny or poignant, heartwarming or tragic, feminist or political. Nothing is censored. As long as it’s sincere, it’s good. You can seem some examples on our YouTube channel, but these are simply examples of what’s been done so far, so don’t feel restricted by them!
Does it have to be slam poetry?
NO. A lot of SermonSlam performers happen to have chosen to do slam poetry, but lots of performances (including winning performances!) have done other things, too, including traditional sermons and divrei torah. Each city’s SermonSlam looks a little bit different—and that’s wonderful. As long as people are enjoying themselves and you’re following our minimal rules, you’re doing fine.
Are SermonSlams normally recorded?
Yes—we record all events and upload selections to iTunes and YouTube. Although we’re making an exception for Shavuot—none of the Shavuot SermonSlams will be recorded.
What’s the history behind this?
The first SermonSlam conceived in October of 2013. The first event was in Philadelphia on November 20, 2013. As a result of tremendous demand and media attention, we expect to see SermonSlams in 20 cities in 2014, and we are also developing versions for high schools, summer camps, and interfaith settings. Thanks to lots of listener support, we also successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign.
Can I do this in my city?
YES. SermonSlam events are happening all over the place. If you want a SermonSlam in your town, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you started.