Schedule for Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5781

Tikkun Leil Shavuot 5781

Click here to download the booklet of speaker materials. 

This Tikkun Leil Shavuot will be recorded; the video is available here on our YouTube channel. 

Time (EDT) Name Session Title Session Description
12:00 PM Rabbi Gesa Ederberg The Akdamut: an Aramaic Preface to our Torah Reading In the 11th century the composer of the Akdamut asked: How do we approach revelation, and what can we learn about the Holy One, based on what is hidden between the words on parchment? Let’s explore!
12:30 PM Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg When God Said “I" Hasidic insights on the first commandment
1:00 PM Rabbi Debra Cantor Standing at the Foot of Sinai: Who is with You and What Do You Hear? The Sages teach that, spiritually speaking, we were all present for the giving of Torah, and that Torah is revealed to us anew each day. They also teach that Torah is multi-vocal, speaking to each one of us individually. We’ll begin our session by delving into a few short rabbinic texts, and - using creative writing and expressive abstract art - reflect on what they say to us after a year of pandemic. Please bring a pencil or pen and any kind of paper, plus any kind of art supplies you have: colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, whatever. (Just pencil and paper is fine, too.) Absolutely no experience needed!
1:30 PM Rabbi Gordon Tucker Reflections on the Omer, Sinai, and the Fate of Our Planet If Sinai represents maturity, then the Omer is the period of youth. Each has its importance and its limitations. With the help of texts from our tradition and the writing of a prominent environmentalist, who is also a person of faith, we will get a better understanding of the stakes in getting the balance right.
2:00 PM Rabbi Reuven Kimelman Why is the Resurrection of the Dead so Prominent in our Liturgy? An analysis of the second blessing of the Amidah and the prayer for waking up followed by a comparison with the prominence of the resurrection of the dead in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, and Christianity.
2:30 PM Rabbis Robyn M Fryer Bodzin & Steve Wernick When is a Name More Than a Name? An exploration of the meaning of the names and places in Megillah Ruth.
3:00 PM Rabbis Ellen Wolintz-Fields & Margie Cella What does Pirkei Avot Teach Us in the Time of COVID? Where can we turn for wisdom, insights, and lessons during COVID-19? Pirkei Avot of course!
3:30 PM Rabbi Ariel Stofenmacher Torah Competition in the Online World The pandemics has obliged us to move online, and the Torah market has instantly opened for everybody. Is this competition kosher? Is it avoidable?
4:00 PM Hazzan Joanna Dulkin Yoga for Yids: Shavuot Yoga Flow Yoga for Yids is real yoga for people in real bodies, and it's unapologetically Jewish. Join us for a multi-level, active yoga class where Jewish text and tradition inform our practice.
4:30 PM Rabbi Sydni Rubinstein The Many Faces and Voices of God A section of midrash from Pesikta d'Rav Kahana teaches that at Mount Sinai, the people Israel saw and heard God in a manner customized to their needs and emotions. Together, we'll learn text and take time to reflect on our own ways of hearing and seeing God each and every day.
5:00 PM Rabbi Elie Spitz A History of the Holy Ark as Presented in Psalm 132 Psalms are our people’s playlist, encompassing the full range of expression to God. Psalm 132 is tied to the holiday of Shavuot as the verses deal with the communal vessel for the Ten Commandments. We will examine the literary artistry of the Psalm and what it says to us today about our relationship with Israel as a sacred center.
5:30 PM Rabbi William Plevan Heschel on Freedom and Responsibility Abraham Joshua Heschel famously remarked that "in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible." In this session, we will explore the relationship between freedom and responsibility in Heschel's thought and its implications for understanding how we live by divine commandments in a democracy.
6:00 PM Rabbi Mike Uram The New Jewish Body – Jewish Power Resurrected How are notions of the Jewish body and Jewish power parallel and perpendicular with other cultural norms? We will explore writings of A.D Gordon both in the contexts of Zionist thought and as a religious text unto themselves.
6:30 PM Rabbi Lisa Gelber & Cantor Danielle Bensimhon Moving Forward, Standing Still This service of strength, hope and healing interweaves teachings of Peloton instructions with texts of our tradition. Join us for song and silence, poetry and prayer as we meet at the sacred mountain of love and resilience.
7:00 PM Rabbi David Wolpe Revelation as an Act of Love Revelation can be seen as a transmission of law, but we will look at it from a psycho-theological point of view as an act of love, and one that roots the Jewish tradition in love, using rabbinic texts and modern Jewish philosophy.
7:30 PM Rabbi Dan Ornstein Angels in the Outhouse: The Mystery and Majesty of the the Blessing, Asher Yatzar Known commonly as "the bathroom blessing," Asher Yatzar is, in its original Talmudic context, an insightful spiritual meditation on the body, in which we acknowledge with God the mystery of our bodies' power and fragility. We will look at this classic Jewish prayer in its original setting of the Talmud and talk about its relevance for us today.
8:00 PM Rabbi Rachel Ain Community and Covenant What are the core values of being a part of the Jewish people? Let's explore ancient and modern texts as we reflect on the meaning of community and covenant during this holiday where all of us can embrace being part of the Jewish people.
8:30 PM Rabbi Ed Feinstein The Bible's Most Unlikely Book We don't read Job. It's not read in the yearly cycle of synagogue life. We don't teach it in Hebrew School. Most Jews don't know it's in our Bible. Too bad. Because for the patient reader, Job is a model of theological reflection on life's toughest questions, and a paradigm of a sophisticated religious culture. Let's take a look....
9:00 PM Rabbi Cheryl Peretz Counting Time, Making Time Count We will explore sources on the counting of sacred time and what it means in the life of an individual and for the Jewish people.
9:30 PM Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein Harmful Gratitude Both traditional and new-age teachings locate happiness in practices of daily gratitude, but sometimes, gratitude can do more harm than good. Let's transform our experience of joy, change, and connection.
10:00 PM Rabbi Gerry Skolnik Knowing the Unknowable: An Appreciation of Heschel's Understanding of Revelation If the depiction of Sinai in the Book of Exodus is "at best a midrash," how can we then expand on that idea to appreciate other elements of human experience that are beyond the scope of our understanding?
10:30 PM Rabbi Amy Bardack When Personal and Public Needs Interfere with Mitzvot What happens when individual or communal needs are incompatible with Jewish practice? We will look at Talmudic texts that mediate these conflicts.
11:00 PM Rabbi Joshua Heller Are We There Yet? How do we know the pandemic is over? What does Jewish ethics tell us about when the risk of a particular activity is "acceptable"? If certain practices or rulings were adopted on an emergency basis, when does that permission expire? What if local and national governments, medical advisors, and clergy or lay leaders all disagree? We won’t offer a conclusive answer to these questions but we will provide a toolbox of sources and concepts that will help bring Jewish values into these thorny conversations.
11:30 PM Rabbi Jenni Greenspan & Rabbinical Student Kaylie Romano When Good Humility Turns Rancid We will examine the first moments that the Israelites encounter manna, and what it means to trust that God will provide.
12:00:00 AM Rabbis Neal Joseph Loevinger & Jodie Futornick A Vision for Human Flourishing: Virtue Ethics in the Book of Ruth We all recognize Ruth as a paragon of goodness. Yet her choices can’t be adequately understood by the most common ethical theories, such as utilitarianism or duty-based ethics (deontology). Rather, Ruth’s story illustrates philosophical ideas about the purpose and flourishing of our lives together.
12:30 AM Rabbis Neil Blumofe & Gail Swedroe What the Darkness is For: Torah in a Haunted Age How do we offer a response to (manufactured) cynicism in our current age? When our footing is not secure, how can we carry on, teaching Torah and serving as an example to others similarly lost in the forest? We will remain alert as we study and sing together, celebrating Torah amid the quaking and booming thunder all around us.
1:00 AM USY leaders: Stephanie Sussman & Sarah Hasson Gender: A Jewish Story Through the Ages Explore gender in the modern-day through a discussion of the first mention of gender in the Torah: creation!
1:30 AM Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner Not for Converts Only: What does "Accepting the Yoke of the Commandments" Really Mean? We often think of conversion only in terms of mikveh and brit milah (or hatafat dam brit, its symbolic equivalent). As important as these rituals are, the act of kabbalat ol mitzvot, the Jew-by-choice's binding acceptance of the "yoke of the commandments" is at the heart and soul of conversion. But what, exactly, does it mean to accept the "yoke of the commandments"? What are its practical implications for observance? By exploring both classical and contemporary sources on conversion, we'll seek to get a better handle on what our tradition has to say about becoming -- and being -- Jewish. As we symbolically stand once again at Sinai on Shavuot, nothing could be more relevant to all of us who choose to receive Torah in our daily lives.
2:00 AM Rabbi Bryan Wexler Shavuot-Themed Healing Service If you are praying for restored health for yourself or a loved one, if you have recently suffered a loss, or if you searching for comfort and hope during these uncertain times, this service is for you. Through prayer, stories, and song, we will strive to find healing, strength, and hope in one another.
2:30 AM Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow Pop Pirkei Avot: Sage Advice from Pop Music We have the written Torah, the oral Torah, and the knowledge that torah can be found everywhere--but what exactly does "everywhere" mean? Join me to explore how various popular music teaches us torah and connects to the wisdom we find in the Jewish literary canon.
3:00-4:00 AM Rabbis Adam Kligfeld, Rebecca Schatz, Cantor Michelle Stone, and Rabbi Cantor Hillary Chorny Niggun & Nourishment Join the Temple Beth Am clergy team for a soul-quenching hour of song, Torah, and meditation as we come together in the wee hours of the tikkun to recenter.
4:00 AM Rabbi Gideon Estes Using Lament to Empower Ourselves Explore how the Book of Lamentations and psalms of lament can empower us to explore challenges in our lives and feel through our feelings.
4:30 AM Rabbi Hannah Estrin Shavuot in Jerusalem Then and Now 1967 and the return to the Old City of Jerusalem marked a shift in the place of Shavuot in the consciousness of Israelis. Experience the last 100 years of Shavuot in Jerusalem.
5:00 AM Rabbi Ben Herman The Reward for Observing Mitzvot: In This World or the Next? Why do we do commandments? Is it to get a reward or to know that we did the right thing? As we celebrate the giving of the Torah we will examine rabbinic teachings about whether we do commandments for extrinsic or intrinsic purposes and what our sages have to teach about whether there is a reward in this world or in the world to come.
5:30 AM Rabbi Scott A Hoffman Rahab Revisited The story of Rahab and the spies has been approached by everyone from Rashi to Tikva Frymer Kensky as a case in which we are attempting to square a hermeneutic circle, namely how a zonah can also be a heroine. My thesis is that the term zonah can be construed not as an expression of moral opprobrium but a reflection of social power.
6:00 AM Hazzan Jesse Holzer Love Songs After Dark Shavuot is the marriage ceremony, but throughout the Omer, we've been on a journey strengthening our relationship with the divine. Join us as we explore and sing through some of the greatest love songs of our people.
6:30 AM Rabbis Randall Konigsburg & Hillel Konigsburg Ideas We Need to Teach All Jewish Children (And Adults Too) What are the most important ideas we need to transmit to the next generation? Why are they important and how can we help our children understand their importance? A conversation between two generations of Rabbis (in the same family!).
7:00 AM Hazzan Sara Geffen Geller Let Boys Be Boaz! Why I think Boaz is a great role model for young men, young women, and anyone else.
7:30 AM Rabbi Steven Henkin Finding Comfort in Uncertain Times The last year has presented us with many challenges--globally, physically, socially, and emotionally. Even as our country starts to open back up, many of us find ourselves feeling many of the same emotions we were feeling when the pandemic started--anxiety, fear, frustration, loneliness, overwhelm, and just plain boredom. Our discussion will focus on sources from our tradition that can provide us comfort, either by reminding us we are not alone or helping us reframe our emotions.
8:00 AM Cantor Wendi Fried The Holy Hokey Pokey In this session we will explore the how's and why's of our prayer choreography. We will delve into why we do what we do, when we do what we do and how much more meaningful our prayer can be when we pray with the whole of our beings.
8:30 AM Rabbi David Ackerman As if I Stood at Sinai - Two Revelation Poems How do I receive the gift of Torah when I can't be 'there' in person? Two Hebrew poems - one medieval and mystical, one contemporary and practical - anticipate life and the possibility of religious experience during lockdown. A close reading of both will 'reveal' to us the art of 'being there' without actually, physically 'being there'.
9:00 AM Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin Journey through the Jewish Calendar Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch said "our calendar is our catechism". We will explore the story it tells about our Jewish journey.
9:30 AM Tom Sudow Moses as Entrepreneur: The Original leader of the Startup Nation What valuable lessons we can learn from Moses' leadership that we can take to our daily and business lives?
10:00 AM Rabbi Eric Woodward Ruth and Do-Overs — How We Try to Live While Holding So Much How do we live looking forward, when so often we look backward in our lives? Join us to discover what a midrash from Ruth Rabbah has to teach us about hindsight and the stories we tell ourselves.
10:30 AM Rabbi Ari Averbach Cinegogue Thinking of the great stories of Mishna and Talmud through a cinematic lens.
11:00 AM Rabbi Stewart Vogel Finding New Meaning in the Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments are seen as the legal foundation for western civilization, but they are so much more. Each commandment addresses elements of human nature that need to be subdued and help us elevate ourselves to a holy existence.
11:30 AM Rabbi Ilana Garber & Dr. Bianca Gonzalez-Lesser From Puerto Rico to Hillel International: Latina, Jew-by-Choice, and Queer - A Case Study in Jewish Inclusion How did the story of Ruth influence Dr. Bianca Gonzalez-Lesser to embrace Judaism? What do they bring to their new role as Diversity Talent Manager at Hillel International, and what can we learn from them about diversity in our communities? Rabbi Ilana Garber, Director of Global Rabbinic Development and the creator of this Conservative/Masorti movement 24-hour Tikkun Leil Shavuot, will interview Bianca.