May 19 Beginning at 8:30PM

The celebration begins at 8:30 PM with services and cheesecake, and will end with sunrise services at 5:00 AM. Come for all or part of the night and enjoy a program of learning, singing, and dancing as some of Brooklyn’s finest teachers gather in one place for one of the most diverse Tikkun Leil Shavuot celebrations around.

Services

8:30 PM

Reform and Traditional/Egalitarian services

9:00 PM

Orthodox services

Descriptions and Bios

9:30 PM

Enjoy some cheesecake, bagels, and more. Food will be available all night.

Block One: 10:00 PM

The Torah Before the Torah with Jon Leener

DESCRIPTION: What exactly is the Torah? Is it possible that the Torah existed before Mt.Sinai? What did the mystics mean when they said that God first looked into the Torah before creating the world? This class will explore Kabbalistic and Hassidic text as we challenge our traditional understanding of what Torah was and is. This class is open to all learners and levels — no previous knowledge on the subject is required.

BIO: Rabbi Jon Leener is the co-founder and rabbi at Base Brooklyn. Jon was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. He has served as the rabbinic intern at Sherith Israel Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee and Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland. His writings on Judaism and Israel have appeared in The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Jewish Week, and The Forward. Before entering rabbinical school, Jon studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Rabbi Leener is also a member of The New York Board of Rabbis

The Complicated History of Jews and History with Sharon Flatto

DESCRIPTION: While the Jewish identity of so many contemporary Jews is deeply intertwined with their connection to Jewish history, it was not always this way. In fact, until the modern era, the study of history was disparaged by many Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, including Maimonides. In this class, we will probe why historical study was largely ignored, and even prohibited, in traditional Jewish societies, and what has led to the surge in interest among contemporary Jews. Finally, on this holiday eve, we will consider whether historical study enhances or detracts from our Shavuot experience.

BIO: Dr. Sharon Flatto is a Professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College and the Director of its Graduate Program. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and her B.A. from Barnard College. Specializing in early modern Jewish history and Kabbalah, Professor Flatto has taught at a broad range of educational institutions: Brown University, Yale, Queens College and numerous adult education programs. She has received multiple awards, including grants from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Whiting Foundation (for outstanding teaching), and the Wolfe Institute. Professor Flatto is the author of The Kabbalistic Culture of Eighteenth-Century Prague: Ezekiel Landau (the ‘Noda Biyehudah’) and his Contemporaries (Littman Press, 2010) and various scholarly articles.

Modern Day Canaanites? Imagining a non-Jewish Hebrew Nation with Hillel Gruenberg

DESCRIPTION: The Canaanite Movement was an obscure cultural and ideological movement active in Mandate Palestine and early Israel that evolved from Zionism and sought to divorce ‘Hebraic’ national identity from its religious Jewish elements. It took the Zionist idea of the ‘new Jew’ (or rather, ‘new Hebrew’) to its utmost extreme, and its adherents believed that the traditions and rituals of Judaism were a medieval construction that obscured the true Semitic roots of Hebrew civilization. Far more influential in art than politics, “Canaanites” and others adjacent to the Canaanite movement still wound up in leading positions on Israel’s far left and far right. Taking the history of this odd group and its philosophy into account, we will explore the legitimacy of such far-reaching modulations of Jewish identity, and the implications of a “Semitic” understanding of Jewish peoplehood for the State of Israel and global Jewry.

BIO: Hillel Gruenberg received a PhD in History and Jewish Studies from NYU in 2014, after writing a dissertation on student activism among Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel in the 1960s and 1970s. Hillel currently teaches at JTS and the New York campus of HUC-JIR and serves as Director of Israel Engagement for both institutions. He is an active member of the Altshul minyan and lives in Brooklyn with his wife Yael and their sons Zeke (3) and Barak (2.5 months).

Psalm Study Part One with Barat Elman

DESCRIPTION: Join us as we examine Psalms 50-69 in this two-part class. Come for one or both sessions!

BIO: Rabbi Barat Ellman, Ph.D. is a teacher of theology, Judaism, and Hebrew Bible, and is a justice activist committed to anti-racism, criminal justice reform, and police accountability; and to immigrant, refugee, and undocumented people’s rights. She teaches with the Bard Prison Initiative and at Fordham University, as well as in adult and interfaith education settings. She is on the Rabbinic Councils of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and Open Hillel; the Faith Leaders Council of New Sanctuary Coalition. As well she is an active member of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Voice for Human Rights; Gathering for Justice/The Justice League; JustLeadershipUSA/Close Rikers Campaign and The Micah Institute.

A Conversation with Lesley Sachs of Women of the Wall with Lesley Sachs

DESCRIPTION: Come learn from one of the central leaders of Israel’s fight for gender equality. Learn about the organization, Women of the Wall, and their courageous campaign to sing, read Torah, and wear a tallis at the Kotel. Learn what you can do to support the work of Women of the Wall, egalitarian prayer, and women’s rights in Israel.

BIO: Lesley Sachs is the 2014 recipient of the NCJW Jewel Bellush Outstanding Israeli Feminist award and was one of the founding members of “Isha L’isha – Haifa’s Feminist Center” and worked for 10 years in the Israel Women’s Network. Lesley served as executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), vice president of the World Union For Progressive Judaism and founding director of Project, Kesher Israel. She is currently working as the executive director of Women of the Wall. She served on the board of directors for the Jerusalem Women’s Shelter, board of directors for the JNF-KKL and currently she is chair of the pre-army mechina Michmanim in Jaffa.

Resilience: Jewish Wisdom for staying up when life gets you down with Sam Weintraub

DESCRIPTION: The holiday cycle which we have just observed–Holocaust Remembrance Day to Israel’s Memorial Day to Israel’s Independence Day–remind us in very personal, inspiring and occasionally soul searing ways of our people’s ability to rebound from tragedy and re-embrace life. But where is this strength rooted? What is its spiritual source? This sessions will explore selected imaginative Midrashim, ethical teachings, personal devotions (Kavannot), communal prayers, jokes and halacha (practical law) which suggest how Jews, individually and communally, have managed to keep their gaze up and ahead, when it could have easily turned down and back.

BIO: Rabbi Sam Weintraub has been spiritual leader of Kane Street Synagogue since 1996. His passions include the interface of Judaism and social justice, the music of davenen (although he lacks musicality) and making the traditional Synagogue world accessible open to all. He was graduated from Haverford College and received Rabbinic ordination, a Master’s of Hebrew Literature, and Doctorate of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His writings have appeared in Conservative Judaism, Reconstructionist, “Rabbis against Gun Violence”, the Canadian Jewish News, and anthology publications of the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Theological Seminary. He founded Project Link (program for interfaith couples), the Coalition for the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Open Beit Midrash at Kane Sreet Synagogue. He is the father of Gabriel and Daniel.

What's God got to do with it? With Carie Carter

DESCRIPTION: Together, we will explore two major texts of Shavuot–the story of the encounter between God and Israel at Mount Sinai and the Book of Ruth. Each presents a unique description of the relationship between God and humanity. We will look at these narratives with an eye toward this relationship and the question of which, if either, resonates most with us.

BIO: Carie Carter is the Rabbi at Park Slope Jewish Center

Bulgarian Shavuot Cooking Class presented by the Jewish Food Society

DESCRIPTION: Join the Jewish Food Society for a cooking class highlighting traditional Bulgarian and Turkish Shavuot recipes from their digital archive. Ellie Backer, the culinary director of JFS, will lead you through a hands on lesson in the kitchen as well as share the stories behind the recipes. The evening will conclude with a tasting of the dishes and the opportunity to share your culinary traditions with the Jewish Food Society.

BIO: The Jewish Food Society is a new non-profit organization that works to preserve, celebrate, and revitalize Jewish culinary heritage. Through community events and a vibrant digital recipe archive, we aim to provide a deeper connection to Jewish life. Click here to submit a family recipe.

I need the eggs and you need the butter: An absurdist approach to the value of religion with Tamara Mann Tweel

DESCRIPTION: Join me for a silly, profound, irreverent and devout romp through sources that try to explain the purpose of religion through imaginary eggs, unstable butter, and the judging of judges. Together, we will look at ancient jokes, the conversion of the philosopher Franz Rosenzweig, the opening words of Megilat Ruth, and the Yom Kippur liturgy to open a conversation on the purpose of faith, devotion, and confidence in our age of doubt, confusion and cynicism.

BIO: Dr. Tamara Tweel currently serves as the Director of Strategy at Hillel International’s Office of Innovation where she developed Civic Spirit, a civic leadership program for students. She is seminar faculty at Columbia University’s Center for American Studies, where she teaches courses in the history and ethics of American social welfare and citizenship. Tamara received her Ph.D. in history at Columbia University and a master’s degree in theological studies from the Harvard Divinity School.

Dignity First: Defining Need in Times of Crisis with Joseph Gindi

DESCRIPTION: In the wake of natural and human disasters our impulse is to provide for basic needs of food, shelter, and security. While this is an important first step, elements within the laws of charity might push us to consider a broader understanding of need. In this session we will place talmudic conceptions of charity in dialogue with an emerging “rights-based” approach to disaster response and recovery. We’ll use real stories of disaster relief to evaluate the policy implications of the Talmud’s expanded definition of need.

BIO: Joseph Gindi is the Program Officer for International Education and Jewish Engagement at American Jewish World Service (AJWS), where he is responsible for the creation of Judaic content and engaging rabbis and North American Jewish communities. Joseph, who hails from the Syrian Jewish community of Deal, New Jersey, is a Jewish educator with over 10 years of experience across the Jewish organizational and denominational landscape. Joseph has studied in batei midrash at the Pardes Institute, Mechon Hadar, and The Jewish Theological Seminary.

When Jewish Meaning Is Camouflaged with Jane Byaela

DESCRIPTION: Although my songs are secular, within are often, not always, camouflaged lyrics from my Jewish experience. I would like to play for thirty-five to forty minutes and reveal what I was thinking in some of the lyrics when it pertains to our shared Jewish history. In this manner, never having done this before, I am hoping the listener can still hear the song in his or her own way. Following, I would like people to share ways in which individual Jewish experience has been an undercurrent in secular life and the effect this has on one’s perspective in today’s world. Through a dialogue where strength, creativity, and mindfulness are the emphasis I am hoping something meaningful will transpire.

BIO: From a family of musicians and artists, Jane Byaela has stayed in involved with art and music throughout her life. Performing in concerts, clubs, on the radio, as a street musician, traveling extensively in the eighties and early nineties, she has drawn crowds in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, Venice, Barcelona, Boston, San Francisco and New York. She produced two albums of original material, “Burning Silver”, and “On The Edge”. Currently she is transcribing her music and lyrics onto manuscript paper paying close attention to the calligraphy. She hopes to complete a songbook that will also include her illustrations and sound recordings. Much material remains unpublished and she would like to publish between sixty and eighty songs. Jane Byaela will be bringing some samples of manuscript and art, in keeping with the session, where she will be sharing her songs.

Ruth the Moabite(ss) and the (Oral) Torah with Larry Magarik

DESCRIPTION: The Torah appears to directly prohibit marriage by Israelites to Moabites, yet Ruth was not only a Moabite but the ancestor of King David. This is one of the puzzles in the Book of Ruth. The Rabbis, however, reconciled this contradiction and emphasized the primacy of the Oral Torah. We will study M. Yevamot 8:3 and B. Yevamot 76b and see how and why this happened. All texts will be available in English translation as well as the original.

BIO: Larry Magarik has taught at Prozdor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the National Havurah Institute, Shavuot Across Brooklyn, and other venues. He is a cantor, lawyer, and author of articles on Bible and Midrash in Kerem and Jewish Bible Quarterly.

Shavuot for Black Lives with Rachel Timoner and Yehuda Webster of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

DESCRIPTION: We can understand Revelation as that flash we feel when we know something is true, that we have encountered something that will shake us up and push us on into a new world. That is the aim of the Vision for Black Lives policy platform. To get us all to engage with what Black liberation could look like, what changes it demands, what new world is possible if we transform this world into one that truly cherishes Black lives.

When the Vision For Black Lives was released in 2016, many members of our community had strong reactions to the way that Israel was characterized in the document, and many of us never read it in its entirety. Jews of Color in our community called on all of us to remain committed to the Movement For Black Lives, to racial justice, and by extension, to Black Jews no matter what.

Shavuot is a holiday of revelation. We receive and study texts that challenge and inspire us, directing us towards building a world rooted in justice and liberation. This year, we invite you to join Jews for Racial & Economic Justice in studying the Vision for Black Lives. Our Shavuot for Black Lives study will focus on the reparations and invest/divest portions of the platform

BIO:  Rabbi Rachel Timoner is senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim.  Yehuda Webster is a board member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.  He’ll be joined by other leaders of JFREJ, who created the Shavuot for Black Lives Study Guide.

Ruth the Moabite(ss) and the (Oral) Torah with Larry Magarik

DESCRIPTION: The Torah appears to directly prohibit marriage by Israelites to Moabites, yet Ruth was not only a Moabite but the ancestor of King David. This is one of the puzzles in the Book of Ruth. The Rabbis, however, reconciled this contradiction and emphasized the primacy of the Oral Torah. We will study M. Yevamot 8:3 and B. Yevamot 76b and see how and why this happened. All texts will be available in English translation as well as the original.

BIO: Larry Magarik has taught at Prozdor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the National Havurah Institute, Shavuot Across Brooklyn, and other venues. He is a cantor, lawyer, and author of articles on Bible and Midrash in Kerem and Jewish Bible Quarterly.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Block Two: 11:00 PM

Atonement and History: On the sins of the past and the promise of the future with Suzanne Schneider Reich

DESCRIPTION: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This line from William Faulkner’s “Requiem for a Nun” does much to encapsulate the ways in which historical events continue to affirm their presence and inflame new controversies today. Nowhere is this more evident than when confronting past atrocities like the Holocaust, American slavery, or genocides of the current day. Can ideas about atonement, so central to Jewish ritual and thought, help us think about – and hopefully redress – historic wrongs? This lecture will explore the tools and concepts within the Jewish textual tradition that might help us formulate a response to this critical social and political need.

BIO: Suzanne Schneider is the Deputy Director and Core Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the Department of Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. A historian and political theorist, her research interests include Jewish and Islamic modernism, American foreign policy vis-a-vis the Middle East, religious politics and violence, secularism, and political agency in the neoliberal era. She is the author of “Mandatory Separation: Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine,” which was just released from Stanford University Press.

Psalm Study Part Two with Barat Elman

DESCRIPTION: Join us as we examine Psalms 50-69 in this two-part class. Come for one or both sessions!

BIO: Rabbi Barat Ellman, Ph.D. is a teacher of theology, Judaism, and Hebrew Bible, and is a justice activist committed to anti-racism, criminal justice reform, and police accountability; and to
immigrant, refugee, and undocumented people’s rights. She teaches with the Bard Prison Initiative and at Fordham University, as well as in adult and interfaith education settings. She is
on the Rabbinic Councils of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and Open Hillel; the Faith Leaders Council of New Sanctuary Coalition. As well she is an active member of T’ruah:
The Rabbinic Voice for Human Rights; Gathering for Justice/The Justice League; JustLeadershipUSA/Close Rikers Campaign and The Micah Institute.

Israeli Dancing with Rina Rinkewich

DESCRIPTION: Come have fun, get exercise, and experience the joy of Israeli dancing in community with Rina Rinkewich, M.F.A. Rina will teach and lead us in classic to contemporary circle and line dances accessible to all: Beginners to advanced, young and old, all are welcome!

BIO: Rina Rinkewich, M.F.A. leads a weekly Israeli dance session most Monday evenings at Union Temple of Brooklyn. She also teaches Seniors at the Shorefront YMHA, children at Union Temple’s Hebrew School , and leads dancing for simchas and special events. Most recently , Rina participted in the14th St. YMHA’s special event “Pause/Play”. She also led Israeli dancing at Shavuot Across Brooklyn (2017). For more information, contact Rina: rinarinkewich@gmail.com

Beyond Tikkun Olam: Is Jewish liberation possible today? With Isaac Luria

DESCRIPTION: As US politics evolves into a more dangerous phase than in recent memory, what does it mean for Jewish people to participate in a politics of collective liberation across race, identity, and religious as our full Jewish selves? How can our interests and our values be aligned more thoughtfully with emerging liberation movements like the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, efforts to stop the criminalization of immigrants, and growing income inequality? What opportunities and barriers exist to developing a mature and effective Jewish communal stance towards these movements?

BIO: Isaac is a faith-rooted social change organizer, leadership coach, strategist, and writer committed to bringing the transformational power of spirituality and faith to bear on the biggest challenges facing our society. He is currently the Director of Voice, Creativity, and Culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in NYC. On the weekends, you’ll find Isaac cooking, playing with his kids, or trying to perfect his jump shot.

Anti-Semitism on the Left with Rachel Timoner

DESCRIPTION: The study of Torah leads many Jews to work toward freedom and justice for all people, whether that’s standing with Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, the LGBT Rights movement, or others. Join Rabbi Rachel Timoner of CBE, Audrey Sasson and Megan Madison of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Rabbi Josh Weinberg of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, as we bring different perspectives to these questions: How do we respond when movements for justice include anti-Semitic voices, are indifferent to anti-Semitism, or ignore the voices of Jews? When is anti-Zionism anti-Semitism? How should we understand the relationship between the struggle for Black liberation, the prevalence of white supremacy, and the ongoing threat of anti-Semitism?

BIO: Rabbi Rachel Timoner is the Senior Rabbi at CBE. Her passions are community building, social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning. She is honored to stand with families at the moments of greatest joy and deepest sorrow in their lives.

Rachel received a B.A. from Yale University, and received her rabbinical degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and was honored with the Lorraine Helman Rubin Memorial Prize for Scholarly Writing, the Women of Reform Judaism Centennial Prize, the Professor Stanley Gevirtz Award for Excellence in Bible, and the Louis and Minnie Raphael Memorial Prize for Outstanding Service to a Small Congregation.

Rachel, her wife and two sons live in Park Slope.

Oft Hope is Born When All Is Forlorn: A Jewish Reading of Tolkien's Eucatastrophe with Amelia Wolf

DESCRIPTION: J.R.R. Tolkien coined the term “eucatastrophe” to refer to the sudden turn of events at the end of the story, which, at the very moment when all seems lost, offers joy, relief, and a happy ending. While he approached the term and its function from a Catholic perspective, this class will offer a glimpse into eucatastrophe in Jewish texts — as well as, of course, in your favorite works of Tolkien.

BIO: Amelia Wolf is the Development and Communications Associate at Sefaria and an organizer of Minyan ATARA: The Crown Heights Egalitarian Minayn. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Reed College, and is an alum of Yeshivat Hadar’s year fellowship. Amelia will use any excuse to integrate the works of J.R.R. Tolkien into conversation.

A Case of #MeToo in the Talmud with Sam Reinstein

DESCRIPTION: How does the Talmud react to a Biblical story of abuse? How does that relate to how we should? How should we react, and how can that prevent future abuses? We will be having a discussion about a specific case in the Bible and Talmud that will shed some light on society at large. The session will be source based. No experience necessary.

BIO: Sam Reinstein moved to Crown Heights 2.5 years ago when he became the Rabbi at Congregation Kol Israel (CKI). He attended Rabbinical school at Yeshiva University, where he also majored in Math and received a Masters in Philosophy. He enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, the Mets, Jets, and Nets and making too many puns for his wife’s liking. Sam lives with his wife, Hannah Dreyfus, and 1.5 year old son, Leon.

Making your points count: How to get to Israel and beyond for pennies on the dollar with Brian Cohen

DESCRIPTION: Do you want to know the secret to flying international business class for less than an economy ticket to Florida? Come find out how to leverage your existing frequent flyer miles account (or how to add to it quickly) in order to do just that. Getting to Israel for cheap can be easy and with the same skill set you could be jet-setting across the globe while sipping champagne. Learn firsthand from someone who has traveled business/first class to destinations in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia and leave with some beginning knowledge on how to get yourself there too.

BIO: Brian Cohen is a teacher, technophile, and avid traveler who recently discovered the world of miles- and points-gathering. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and enjoys traveling all over the world. He has visited over 30 countries in the past 15 years and looks forward to experiencing more as he gets deeper into this world.

Recently he began espousing all this information to friends, relatives, and really anyone who would listen. That has since turned into a small consulting business where he helps travelers (like you) learn how to leverage their miles and points for cheaper and better travel experiences.

American Jewish Youth, Sex, and the Continuity Crisis in Historical Context with Sandra Fox

DESCRIPTION: Why do Jewish summer camps and youth movements have reputations as playgrounds of sexual freedom and experimentation? Why are so many Birthrighters having sex in the Bedouin tent? And what does this all have to do with American Jewish anxieties surrounding intermarriage? In this session, Sandra Fox will provide an overview of the American Jewish “continuity crisis” from its postwar beginnings through the start of Birthright. The group will then read primary sources from different points in history, and consider together the impacts Jewish concerns surrounding marriage have made not only on summer camps and other youth programs, but on young Jews’ romantic and sexual encounters. The session will promote free expression, but degrading or hurtful language in reference to intermarried couples or children of intermarried parents will not be tolerated.

BIO: Sandra Fox holds a PhD in American Jewish history from New York University. Her current project, “‘Here, We’re Real Jews’: Producing Authentic Jews in Postwar American Summer Camps, 1945-1980,” considers language, intergenerational tension, and the texture of everyday life in Zionist, Yiddishist, and denominational summer camps. She is also the founder and producer of Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish, and serves on the editorial board of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.. You can find out more about her work on her website, www.sandrafox.net

Un-Othering-the Other: Maimonides' radically creative stance towards Jews-by-Choice with Ysoscher Katz

DESCRIPTION:We will explore how Rambam’s abiding love for the Jew-by-choice led him to develop a radical theological postulate coupled with a courageous halakhic stance in order to create communities which are inclusive and egalitarian.

BIO: Rabbi Ysoscher Katz is the Director of the Beit Midrash Program at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah and Senior Rabbi at PHS. He received ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Roth, dayan of UTA Satmer. Rabbi Katz studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat Beis Yosef, Navaradok for over ten years. A graduate of the HaSha’ar Program for Jewish Educators, Rabbi Katz has taught at the Ma’ayanot High School for Girls and SAR High School. He lectures widely and teaches adult education classes in numerous venues. He was a leading teacher of a daf yomi class in Boro Park for over eight years.

Your People Will Be My People: Opposing Perspectives on Conversion in Jewish Text with Phyllis Sussman

DESCRIPTION: Elu V’Elu (openness) is the foundation of text study at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School. This session will demonstrate how Senesh uses chevrutah (partner) study to examine a diversity of opinions in Jewish text and to encourage a multitude of textual interpretations. With a particular emphasis on the Book of Ruth, we will explore how Biblical and Rabbinic texts warn against the threat of the convert, while at the same time portraying the convert as one who can enhance the Jewish community. In reading these sources, we will uncover our own understanding of these contradictions.

BIO: Phyllis Sussman is the Judaic Studies Coordinator at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School. Infusing school culture with our school values of Chesed (kindness), Areivut (Communal Responsiblity), Elu V’Elu (Openness), Hatmada (Perseverence) and Masa (Journey) is an important part of Phyllis’ job. She is particularly passionate about exploring and embracing the diversity of student opinions. Phyllis has been working at Senesh for the past nine years, first as a Judaics teacher and then as Judaics coordinator. Prior to her role as coordinator, Phyllis worked at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan as a first and third grade teacher. She has a BA from both Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, studied Jewish education through the HaShaar Program at the Drisha Institute and received her MA in Bible from Yeshiva University.

A Victim of Circumstance: The Mixed-Up History of the Bible's First Blasphemer with Marc Katz

DESCRIPTION: We read in Leviticus about an unnamed man who curses God. But when we look at his lineage and peel back the layers of his story we find the most amazing tale, one of alienation and intrigue, assault and power struggles. His whole history builds to one moment, but to understand it, we will take a trip back generations.

BIO: Rabbi Marc Katz is the outgoing associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim. He is the author of The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. He will soon be starting as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Block Three: 12:00 AM

Yerushalayim & Bavel, Then and Now with Michal Kohane

DESCRIPTION: Through in depth look at a couple of Talmudic stories, we’ll explore the relationship between Jerusalem & Babylon back then, and see what we can learn to our own time.

BIO: Born and raised in Israel, Michal is currently the Rosh Kehila of Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn and a student at Yeshivat Maharat, NY. She holds several degrees, and has been a leader and educator in the Jewish Community of Northern California for over twenty five years. She is an avid learner and writer – her 1st book, Ha’chug, appeared in Israel in 2016, and her blog can be found at www.miko284.com

Bein Kodesh L'Hol - The holy heretics of Israeli Poetry with Josh Weinberg

DESCRIPTION: As Israel begins its 71st year we will look at some of its classic and less-classic poetry, explicitly examining the role of God, heresy and everything in between. The Torah of poetry will sing to us, challenge us and open up the diverse world of Hebrew God-wrestling.

BIO: Rabbi Josh Weinberg has served as the President of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, since 2013. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003. Originally from Chicago, he has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin in Hebrew Literature, Political Science and International Relations, and studied for an M.A. at the Hebrew University in Jewish Education. Josh is passionate about anything connected to Israel and hopes to strengthen the connection between the Reform movement and the Jewish State. He is married to Mara Getz Sheftel, and is the proud abba of Noa, Ella, Mia, and Alma.

Androgynos and Tumtum: Reifying or Rejecting the Gender Binary? With Joshua DeMoya

DESCRIPTION: Modern Western society assumes sex and gender duality, as well as some level of gender essentialism. In other words, the world is divided into “men” and “women” and men have there ways and women have theirs. As far back as the Mishna, Jewish law has sexed people’s bodies in six different categories – man, woman, saris, aylonit, androgynos, and tumtum. In this class, we will get to know these last two. Does the rabbinic understanding of androgynos and tumtum reify or reject gender binarism? Does Judaism provide a starting point for understanding people’s gender or does it insist on understanding all people only in reference to man and woman? Come explore these questions and concrete ways we can make our language, minds, and communities more inclusive.

BIO: Josh is an explorer of his own identity, the world, and where Judaism fits into and shapes these. He currently works in development at Sefaria. Previously, he spent a year learning Talmud and other Jewish studies at Mechon Hadar on the Upper West Side. He also taught middle school at the Luria Academy of Brooklyn and high school at ROADS Bronx High School. While at Luria, he designed and taught the health curriculum, including components on gender identity and sexual orientation. He is also an inclusion trainer for Keshet, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ+ Jews.

For Its Own Sake -- The Iconoclastic Philosophy of Yeshayahu Leibowitz with Alan Scott Belsky

DESCRIPTION: You may be offended. You may be inspired. If I do this right, you may feel vindicated, attacked, confused, enlightened, and angered, too. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, an Israeli public intellectual who died in 1994 at the age of 91, became famous in Israel for decades of polarizing and sharp-edged criticisms of contemporary Judaism, politics, and the interactions between the two. Despite my own disagreements with his approach, I developed an affection for Leibowitz’s iconoclastic philosophy in a college Judaic Studies class and hope to share it with you through selections of his writings.

BIO: Alan Scott Belsky was from Brooklyn before it was cool. He’s a former cartographer, a part-time contradancer, and one of the gabbais at Kavod, the neighborhood’s partnership-style minyan. He’s had the honor of learning from fantastic teachers at the Yeshivah of Flatbush, the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute, and Yeshivat Hadar. Alan works for the NYC Bicycle Share and his favorite season is Pirkei-Avot season.

Amos the Innovator with David Kline

DESCRIPTION: “Let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” became Torah through the conscience of an 8th century BCE shepherd and tree trimmer from T’koa, in the southern kingdom Y’hudah. A series of visions of impending disaster jolted him to conclude that contemporary religious practices were not what God wanted. His ideas were picked up by Isaiah, Micah, and Jeremiah and others, and direct us towards social justice. Let’s have a look at those visions and words and ask about prophets today.

BIO: Rabbi David L Kline, member of CBE, participant in Chevreh Torah and adult education. He taught Bible for 15 years at University of Louisiana, Monroe. His Bible story translations with context introductions are available on his blog. (http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/)

Prophets and prophecy in Judaism and Islam with Elhanan Miller

DESCRIPTION: The idea of prophecy is central to both Judaism and Islam, but the two religions view their prophets in a very different way. In this session we will examine the various positions in Judaism and Islam on prophecy.
Muhammad came into contact with Jews and Muslims in Arabia, absorbing tales of prophets into his new religion. He identified with biblical characters such as Abraham and Moses, fashioning his prophetic mission in their image. Meanwhile, in Judaism, Moses Maimonides incorporated the idea of prophecy in his 13 principles of faith, which were never universally accepted by Jewish believers.
Can prophets sin or err? Did Jews kills their prophets? These are some of the questions the session will cover.

BIO: Elhanan Miller is a Jerusalem-based journalist. The former Arab Affairs correspondent for the Times of Israel, he is now a regular contributor to Tablet Magazine, the Forward and Haaretz. Miller holds a master’s degree in Middle East history and Islamic Studies from Hebrew University. He is a research fellow at the Berl Katznelson Foundation and the Forum for Regional Thinking, specializing in Palestinian politics. Miller is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic and French. He regularly comments on Israeli politics on Al-Jazeera, BBC, and Sky News Arabia. His opinion articles have appeared in the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His recent initiative, People of the Book, educates Muslim and Arab audiences about Jewish practice through short animated videos disseminated through social media. These videos have so far garnered over 1.5 million views and tens of thousands of regular followers.

Bridging Incarcerated and non-Incarcerated Communities - A Jewish Look with Barat Elman

DESCRIPTION: The way our criminal justice system is set up creates looming divides between incarcerated and non-incarcerarted communities. Prisons and Jails are situated far from social centers. Our culture “others” people caught up in the criminal justice system explicitly by, for instance, depriving them of the rights of citizens and implicitly by creating barriers to reintegration. Jewish tradition, beginning in Deuteronomy, maintains that those who violate the law remain part of our community and the community remains responsible to them. In this session we will look at Jewish texts to explore how our tradition considers criminal justice and hear stories to help normalize and demystify individuals who have been incarcerated.

BIO: Rabbi Barat Ellman, Ph.D. is a teacher of theology, Judaism, and Hebrew Bible, and is a justice activist committed to anti-racism, criminal justice reform, and police accountability; and to
immigrant, refugee, and undocumented people’s rights. She teaches with the Bard Prison Initiative and at Fordham University, as well as in adult and interfaith education settings. She is
on the Rabbinic Councils of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and Open Hillel; the Faith Leaders Council of New Sanctuary Coalition. As well she is an active member of T’ruah:
The Rabbinic Voice for Human Rights; Gathering for Justice/The Justice League; JustLeadershipUSA/Close Rikers Campaign and The Micah Institute.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Block Four: 1:00 AM

Niggun Workshop and Song Share with Todd Nelson

DESCRIPTION: Love Jewish music? Love harmonizing? We do too! Come to the Niggun Workshop and Song Share. We’ll teach some nigguns, share songs, and generally get down with some holy harmonizing. Come see why this moment is one of the best for Jewish music is over a decade.

BIO: Todd Nelson is a writer, educator, and community builder. Nothing brings him greater joy than sharing beautiful music with others. He is a regular service leader at Mishkan Minyan and Captain of the Love Team at Shir HaMaalot, a volunteer corps that supports the lay-led, egalitarian havurah.

Tales from Below with Hannah Grossman

DESCRIPTION: Why does the Babylonian Talmud include so many stories about interactions between the dead and the living if the Torah repeatedly prohibits turning to ghosts and spirits? How can a Talmudic “ghost story” add clarity to the mourner’s kaddish? What can we learn about humanity from Talmudic conversations between the dead and the living? Through exploring various Talmudic “ghost stories” in chevruta (learning in pairs) and group discussion, we can gain a better understanding of Jewish belief in Babylonia as well as some stirring insight into relationships between the two realms which may hold value for us today.

BIO: Hannah Grossman has an MA in Bible and an MA in Experiential Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. She spent a year studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and a year working as a Jewish educator in the Bene Israel community of Mumbai, India through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Hannah has worked as the Education Director of Young Judaea Camp Tel Yehudah, in AVODAH’s community and alumni relations department and in various teaching capacities in the New York area. Currently, Hannah loves working here at CBE!

Me, Myself, and Israel with David Bryfman

DESCRIPTION:Just this week we have seen the Iran deal terminated, the American embassy move to Jerusalem, and Israel win the Eurovision song festival. Why should these issues even matter to the Jews of Brooklyn? Relations between Jews and Israel have always been dynamic and no more so than right now. Together we will look at what all of this might mean for Jews today and tomorrow.

BIO: David Bryfman the chief innovation officer at The Jewish Education Project (formerly the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York). David completed his Ph.D. Education and Jewish Studies at NYU focusing on Jewish teenagers and experiential Jewish education. He has authored many articles and blogs on experiential Jewish education, Israel education, and Jewish adolescents, as well as editing the book, “Experience and Jewish Education.” He is an alumni of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program and the Schusterman Fellowship.

Poems for Ruth with Julia Knobloch

DESCRIPTION: Shavuot is a harvest festival and the holiday when we commemorate the giving of the Torah. As a holiday that acknowledges and celebrates the fruits of labor and commitment, it is infused with love: Tending the earth with care is an act of love, and the giving of the Torah is often likened to a wedding between G-d and the Israelites.
The story of Ruth is a story of love and commitment in its own right. Focusing on the idea of commitment – and the challenges it brings – we will read and discuss selected poems that reflect these overlapping aspects of the holiday. Writing prompts will be provided at the end of the workshop for those who wish to write. They will be meaningful also for those who don’t write on the chag. If someone has written a Shavuot-themed poem, they are welcome to bring it.

BIO: Julia Knobloch is a former journalist turned translator, project manager, and poet. She occasionally blogs for ReformJudaism.org and was among the recipients of a 2017 Brooklyn Poets Fellowship. She is a member of the Sweet Action Poetry Collective and has recently led her first workshops on Jewish poetry for Brooklyn Beit Midrash. Her poems are published or forthcoming with Jewish Currents, Moment Magazine, Jewcy, Rascal, Green Mountains Review, Yes Poetry Magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, and elsewhere. A current resident of Brooklyn, she has lived in her native Germany as well as in France, Portugal, and Argentina.

Chesed v. Tzedek: Navigating our Obligations in the 21st Century with Nava Friedman & Rebecca Krevat

DESCRIPTION: Chesed (lovingkindness) and Tzedek (justice) are both central principles Jewish mitzvoth *bein adam l’chavero* — between a person and his fellow. Yet these principles differ in critical ways, and understanding their differences is key to being an engaged Jewish citizen in the 21st century, particularly as injustice rages all around us. In this session, we will seek to understand how these concepts differ, how Jewish institutions may be failing in pursuing these principles, and how we can better pursue both Chesed and Tzedek in service of the marginalized in our local and global communities.

BIO: Nava Friedman and Rebecca Krevat are co-founders of Hitoreri: An Orthodox Movement for Social Change, an organization that seeks to recommit the Orthodox community to principles of social justice, a mitzvah and pillar of Jewish practice. Nava works at the intersection of social impact and technology, connecting nonprofits with pro bono consultants through Catchafire.org, an online matching platform. She previously worked for international development nonprofits in Washington D.C. and Kampala, Uganda, where she was also active in local Jewish communities. Rebecca is an advertising professional and veteran activist. She recently served as Communications Manager for Know Your IX, a survivor and youth-led organization that aims to empower students to end sexual and dating violence in their schools. They both live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and are active in its Jewish community.

You/I Will Go: Road Tripping with God with Dov Alpert

DESCRIPTION: Walking with, walking before, or struggling with God – Bereishit is filled with divinely complex relationships. The protagonist of each generation tell the narrative of Bereishit, the successes and the failures of Abraham and his descendants as they walk their paths toward God. Looking at a few anecdotes from the book, we’ll compare how characters begin and end their journeys, how their actions affect the subsequent generation, and where the road to a relationship with God can lead us.

BIO: Dov has been a Judaic teacher, experience designer, movie maker, and creative writer. He has no expertise relevant to this class. Dov has been telling stories and dissecting Torah narratives since he’s been old enough to sing the 4 question on Passover, and wants to share his ideas with you. He voted for Mel Brooks over RBG as most influential Jewish celebrity.

The Torah, By ???? with Josh Weinberg

DESCRIPTION: Tonight is our moment for celebrating Torah, studying it inside and out and finding meaning in it for our lives. This session will focus on the question of authorship. Who wrote the Torah? According to whom? Let’s examine ancient and modern theories about the Torah’s author(s), and discuss why this is relevant.

BIO: Rabbi Josh Weinberg has served as the President of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, since 2013. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003. Originally from Chicago, he has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin in Hebrew Literature, Political Science and International Relations, and studied for an M.A. at the Hebrew University in Jewish Education. Josh is passionate about anything connected to Israel and hopes to strengthen the connection between the Reform movement and the Jewish State. He is married to Mara Getz Sheftel, and is the proud abba of Noa, Ella, Mia, and Alma.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Write Night with the Free Minds Book Club with Brian Brochstein

DESCRIPTION: While in prison, Free Minds members (D.C. based youth who are incarcerated as adults) write poetry expressing their thoughts, experiences, emotions, and hopes for the future. During this session, you will have the opportunity to read these powerful poems and write encouraging comments and feedback that will then be mailed to them, providing them with valued feedback and vital inspiration to keep writing.

BIO: Brian Brochstein is a Crown Heights-based fellow with Repair the World NYC. Originally hailing from Houston, Texas, his work focuses primarily on mobilizing community members around areas of food injustice in Central Brooklyn.

Block Five: 2:00 AM

Un-othering the other: The evolution of Halakha’s attitude towards the disabled with Ysoscher Katz

DESCRIPTION: This session will explore the way halakha’s exclusionary attitude towards the disabled, particularly the hearing and speaking impaired, accommodated society’s evolutionary understanding of speech and hearing.

BIO: Rabbi Ysoscher Katz is the Director of the Beit Midrash Program at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah and Senior Rabbi at Prospect Heights Shul. He received ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Roth, dayan of UTA Satmer. Rabbi Katz studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat Beis Yosef, Navaradok for over ten years. A graduate of the HaSha’ar Program for Jewish Educators, Rabbi Katz has taught at the Ma’ayanot High School for Girls and SAR High School. He lectures widely and teaches adult education classes in numerous venues. He was a leading teacher of a daf yomi class in Boro Park for over eight years.

Becoming a Jew: What conversion reveals about Jewish identity with Jon Leener

DESCRIPTION: In this class we will explore Jewish identity by examining core text around conversion.

BIO: Rabbi Jon Leener is the co-founder and rabbi at Base Brooklyn. Jon was ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. He has served as the rabbinic intern at Sherith Israel Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee and Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland. His writings on Judaism and Israel have appeared in The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Jewish Week, and The Forward. Before entering rabbinical school, Jon studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Rabbi Leener is also a member of The New York Board of Rabbis

Taharas HaMishpacha: A Mansplaining Apologetic with Egon Levy

DESCRIPTION: A male Orthodox rabbinical student with a black hat and significant beard growth explains why Jewish women might want to observe a collection of Jewish laws and ritual practices that regulate their bodies.

BIO: Egon Levy’s interests and research interests include rabbinic literature, the intersection of law and halacha, American gun culture, and biblical narrative. He has given lectures and shiurim and served on panels at universities, synagogues, and academic conferences, including the University of Chicago, the Orthodox Community at Penn, and the Society for Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. His work has been published by the Gorgias Press (Piscataway, NJ) and the Yale Law and Policy Review.

A LegenDairy Holiday: the Origins of Eating Dairy on Shavuot with Sam Reinstein

DESCRIPTION: In this session we will discuss the history and meaning behind eating cheese and milk products on Shavuot. Is it an old Jewish custom, or perhaps something else?

This is a text based discussion, but will be accessible to all (except if you are lactose discussion intolerant).

BIO: Sam Reinstein moved to Crown Heights 2.5 years ago when he became the Rabbi at Congregation Kol Israel (CKI). He attended Rabbinical school at Yeshiva University, where he also majored in Math and received a Masters in Philosophy. He enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, the Mets, Jets, and Nets and making too many puns for his wife’s liking. Sam lives with his wife, Hannah Dreyfus, and 1.5 year old son, Leon.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Block Six: 3:00 AM

Keep Your Monarchs Close: Jewish Communities and State Authorities Before and After the Inquisition with Danya Lagos

DESCRIPTION: On the eve of a heavily anticipated royal wedding, this shiur will focus on the relationship between Jewish communities and governments that have ruled over them. We will focus on texts related to Spanish communities as both subjects and outsiders under both Muslim and Christian rulers – before and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.

BIO: Danya Lagos is a PhD student in sociology and an organizing committee member of the Central Brooklyn branch of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

Peoplehood and its Discontents: some texts and history of the word with Matt Green

DESCRIPTION: This session will explore foundational texts, both classical and modern, approaching the subject of Jewish Peoplehood. We’ll explore the history of the concept and of the word itself, both of which are surprisingly recent constructions in Jewish thought.

BIO: Matt Green is the incoming Assistant Rabbi at CBE. He’s been the rabbinic intern for three years, in which role he has served as the director of Brooklyn Jews, CBE’s community of young Brooklynites looking for connection to Jewish culture, time, and ritual. A born and raised Michigander, Matt holds a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan. He was ordained as a rabbi just this month (woohoo!) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Love as the Essential Blessing: In Memory of Rabbi Aaron Panken z''l
with Rachel Timoner

DESCRIPTION: In honor and memory of Rabbi Aaron Panken, please join Rabbi Rachel Timoner in the study of a text from Netivot Shalom, the Slonimer Rebbe, on Aaron, the Priestly Blessing, and the offering of love.

BIO: Rabbi Rachel Timoner is the Senior Rabbi at CBE. Her passions are community building, social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning. She is honored to stand with families at the moments of greatest joy and deepest sorrow in their lives.

Rachel received a B.A. from Yale University, and received her rabbinical degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and was honored with the Lorraine Helman Rubin Memorial Prize for Scholarly Writing, the Women of Reform Judaism Centennial Prize, the Professor Stanley Gevirtz Award for Excellence in Bible, and the Louis and Minnie Raphael Memorial Prize for Outstanding Service to a Small Congregation.

Rachel, her wife and two sons live in Park Slope.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

The Dance of Revelation: An Embodied Journey to Malchut of Malchut with Rishe Groner

DESCRIPTION: The body possesses endless wisdom, stored in every limb and every muscle, released when we move and flow into who we are. We dance to meditate, to pray and to awaken, as we move into receiving the Torah with revelation, joy, and full expression of creative manifestation: Malchut of Malchut, on the 49th day of the Omer. Wake up with a fully immersive, embodied dance journey as we receive the Torah with our bodies as well as our souls. Let’s dance like God is watching. (dress comfortably, bring water!)

BIO: Rishe Groner is a writer, teacher and creator of embodied spiritual experiences based on Jewish traditions from Chassidic and Kabbalistic sources. She is the founder of The Gene-Sis, a movement geared towards culturally appropriating Judaism with intentional embodied practice.

Block Seven: 4:00 AM

The Unique Loneliness Of Joseph with Marc Katz

DESCRIPTION: As a child and teenager, it seems that everywhere he goes, Joseph is an outsider. For this reason, his story (and the accompanying commentaries) have a lot to teach us about the challenges of growing up, discovering one’s sexuality, and the unique experience of being a teenager.

BIO: Rabbi Marc Katz is the outgoing associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim. He is the author of The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. He will soon be starting as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ.

Vigilant: Mystical Midnight in Safed with Joshua Schwartz

DESCRIPTION: We’ll explore textual reports of mystical convenings in 16th century Safed, when Kabbalists would gather together in the middle of the night, to attach themselves to the Shechinah, in her pain, and to help bring Her healing. This ritual culminates in the Tikun Leyl Shavu’ot, what we’re doing ourselves this night. Through Torah learning, we will bring ourselves into alignment with what has happened before and imagine what we can do in this moment.

BIO: Joshua Schwartz is an adjunct professor in religious studies at New York University and in rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He is completing his PhD in Jewish Mysticism at NYU’s Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Joshua is a published translator and poet, but all this sounds very boring.

David, King of Israel, Lives and Endures with Matt Green

DESCRIPTION: King David receives the longest narrative treatment of any character in the Tanakh. It’s unsurprising, then, that David is one of the most complex characters of our tradition. We’ll examine the David story with an eye toward lessons that may be especially relevant in our current political climate.

BIO: Matt Green is the incoming Assistant Rabbi at CBE. He’s been the rabbinic intern for three years, in which role he has served as the director of Brooklyn Jews, CBE’s community of young Brooklynites looking for connection to Jewish culture, time, and ritual. A born and raised Michigander, Matt holds a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan. He was ordained as a rabbi just this month (woohoo!) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Chevruta Slam with Brooklyn Beit Midrash

DESCRIPTION: The Brooklyn Beit Midrash brings it’s storied Chevruta Slam to Shavuot Across Brooklyn! Come and join the BBM team with some guided “Chevruta” (partnered) text study. Whether you are a beginner or have been steeped in Jewish learning for years, our facilitators will guide you to a text and study partner appropriate to your level. Come at any time for as long as you’d like—we’ll be going all night!

BIO: Welcome to Brooklyn Beit Midrash: An open, co-educational community of learners, seekers, and teachers engaging with Jewish text in Brooklyn Our mission is to cultivate interpersonal and interdemoninational relationships through the universal Jewish language of Torah, inspire and guide each other toward spiritual and intellectual growth, and empower learners to be teachers.

Sponsors

Altshul, Avodah, Base BKLYN, Beloved, Brooklyn Beit Midrash, Brooklyn Jews, Congregation Beth Elohim, Flatbush Jewish Center, Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Kane Street Synagogue, Kavod: A Brooklyn Partnership Minyan, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Mishkan Minyan, Moishe House Park Slope, Park Slope Jewish Center, Prospect Heights Shul, Repair the World NYC, Shir HaMaalot, Union Temple of Brooklyn