Rapp, Steven A. 1964-

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RAPP, Steven A. 1964-

PERSONAL: Born January 26, 1964, in Brookline, MA; married; wife's name Ulrike; children: Hannah, Joshua, Rebecca. Education: Tufts University, B.S. (mechanical engineering), 1986.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Jewish Lights Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Sunset Farm Offices, Rt. 4, Woodstock, VT 05091. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Boston, MA, manager, 1989—. Teacher of yoga.

MEMBER: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

AWARDS, HONORS: American Academy of Poets honorable mention, 1986, for poem "Close Shave."

WRITINGS:

Aleph-Bet Yoga, Jewish Lights (Woodstock, VT), 2002.

Contributor to The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life, Jewish Lights, 2002. Author of poetry.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A collection of poems about life in West Africa; research on yoga during pregnancy.

SIDELIGHTS: Steven A. Rapp told CA: "I have written poetry for many years. I had studied with the American poets Philip Levine and Jane Shore while at Tufts University in 1985-86. Poetry allows me to distill the essence of situation or place to form a memory—like a painting or a photograph, but with more of the feeling described. I have been influenced by many poets, past and present, including the thirteenth-century Persian Rumi, William Carlos Williams, D. H. Lawrence, and many other writers.

"Since I have been working as an engineer, I have also enjoyed writing nonfiction and technical writing. I get a sense of usefulness in explaining complex technical concepts in a way that others can understand.

"My book Aleph-Bet Yoga is a synthesis of poetry and nonfiction, of my desires to create art and to explain. I was inspired to write the book in 1998, when a sofer, or Jewish scribe, came to our synagogue. After he had finished repairing one of the Torah scrolls, he got the youngest kids together and explained to them that the letters were not just marks on a page or scroll but rather they were pictures and that the pictures tell a story. He had them act out the letters. I had started teaching Sunday school that fall, and it was then that I realized that there could be a way to teach the Hebrew letters to children using their bodies, not just their brains and eyes. I had also been teaching a weekly yoga class around the same time. And watching the sofer, it all just clicked. I thought that I could use yoga poses that approximated the Hebrew letters to teach the children in my Sunday school class in a whole new, safe but fun way. I also thought that the Jewish adults that attended yoga class would feel good about an explicit connection between Judaism and yoga."