• Shavuot

    Thursday, May 28 from 4 PM - 2 AM

    Shavuot Across Brooklyn brings together dozens of teachers from different Jewish organizations around Brooklyn in honor of the festival of Shavuot. This year, our virtual Shavuot experience will showcase multiple Jewish learning sessions every hour throughout the late afternoon and into the nighttime, beginning at 4 PM.


    Co-sponsored by: Altshul, Base BKLYN, Beloved, Brooklyn Beit Midrash, Brooklyn Jews, Congregation Beth Elohim, Hannah Senesh, HIAS, Idra: Culture & Learning & Food, Kolot Chayeinu / Voices of Our Lives, Kane Street Synagogue, Mishkan Minyan, Park Slope Jewish Center, Prospect Heights Shul, Repair The World NYC, Shir Hamaalot, Union Temple of Brooklyn

    Shavuot

Schedule and Learning Lineup

4-7 PM: Learning Block One

4 PM

“Shavuot Stories and Songs” taught by Rabbi Rebecca Epstein & Debbie Brukman

Join Rabbi Rebecca Epstein and Debbie Brukman for songs and stories about the Torah! Bring the whole family for a fun sing-along and story time as we celebrate the sweetness of Torah. Bring your own ice cream to enjoy!

“Praying Against Enemies” taught by Larry Magarik

Everyone knows that it is fine to pray for people you support, but is it okay to pray against enemies? The question has personal and political dimensions. We will look at Biblical, Talmudic and Hasidic sources to help figure out an answer. Click here for the source sheet for this session.

Larry Magarik has taught at the Altshul Bet Midrash, Shavuot Across Brooklyn, National Havurah Institute and Prozdor, served as a cantor and lawyer, and published articles on Biblical subjects.

“‘Pandemic’ Avot: Wisdom in the Time of Coronavirus” taught by Rabbi Jason Gitlin

Join us in search of some Sage advice that can help us individually and communally navigate and respond to today’s challenging times. We’ll explore a few timely teachings from this Rabbinic collection on how to live a good and meaningful life.

Rabbi Jason Gitlin, Kane Street’s Synagogue’s Engagement Director, has been leading a soon-to-conclude year-and-a-half long community-wide Pirkei Avot Study at Kane Street.

“VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha “Love your neighbour as yourself” – Community organizing in Sderot, Israel during times of emergency and “routine”” taught by Carmi Tint

Now more than ever, we are reminded of the power of community. We will examine a unique form of community-building and social organizing in the neighbourhoods of Sderot, an Israeli city adjacent to the Gaza Strip which is defined by a reality of “emergency as routine”. We will explore together how a community can foster resilience in the face of harsh circumstances by learning about the creation of a special parents’ group working together to be responsible for their neighbourhood.

Carmi Tint is currently the shlicha (Israeli emissary) of Habonim Dror North America’s youth movement activities in New York City and also serves as the Project Leader for CBE’s HaGeemnasia Hebrew Immersion Summer Camp. After making aliyah nine years ago, Carmi joined the social educators’ movement Dror Israel, working to build a caring, just and inclusive society through educational projects and social activism. Carmi belongs to an urban kibbutz in the city of Sderot and was responsible for initiating grassroots organizing in the peripheral city’s underserved neighbourhoods.

“A Bridge Across an Abyss—Israel Diaspora Jewry Relations From Disconnection to Relationship” taught by Tomer Gekler

Relations between Israel and US Jewry may well be at its lowest tide in years. Is it fate? Have we done all we can to improve, rebuild relationships? In this meeting, we will discuss the main causes of the crisis and consider a number of creative solutions for tikkun, rebuilding relationships.

Tomer Gekler is the Jewish Agency Shaliach (emissary) to Brooklyn starting last August. In his role, he is responsible for running the gap year program for Jewish Agency volunteers and promoting events and programs about Israel and Israeli culture. For the last 20 years he has worked and promoted various education and community building programs. Tomer believes that honest conversation between people can connect the hearts, ignite inspiration, and build a better world.

5 PM

“Creating Feminist Midrash” taught by Eliza Scheffler

In her landmark work of Jewish feminism, “Standing Again at Sinai,” Judith Plaskow writes: “To accept our absence from Sinai would be to allow the male text to define us and our connection to Judaism. To stand on the ground of our experience, on the other hand, to start with the certainty of our membership in our own people is to be forced to re-member and recreate its history, to reshape Torah.” This Shavuot, as we celebrate receiving the Torah at Sinai, let’s continue to reshape that Torah in ways that reflect a diversity of experiences. We will begin by reading excerpts of Plaskow’s book. Then, we’ll read/listen to a few examples of feminist midrash that expand upon classic Torah stories. Finally, we’ll dip our toes into the creative process and try making our own! Everyone is invited.

Eliza Scheffler is the Rabbinic Intern at CBE and Brooklyn Jews, and an incoming 4th year student at HUC-JIR.

“Art as Midrash: The Book of Ruth” taught by Cantor Sarah Myerson

The Book of Ruth through artists’ eyes, from Chagall to Yalonetsky, from paintings to linocuts, from Medieval to Twenty-First Century. We’ll discuss the ways each artist creates a visual Midrash on the biblical text, and look for resonance between the artworks and rabbinic Midrashim on the Book of Ruth.

Cantor Sarah Myerson proudly serves the community of Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. She was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly in 2018, and invested by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2015, conferred with Diploma of Hazzan and Master of Sacred Music. She received her Bachelor of Music (Composition) degree, honors first class, from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia. Cantor Sarah continues to write and perform new compositions, especially in Yiddish and Hebrew, and has developed a profile as a musician, speaker, educator and Yiddish dance teacher and leader. Cantor Sarah’s Art As Midrash classes are based on her studies with Dr. Shulamit Laderman at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem.

Family Shavuot Virtual Volunteering with Repair the World Brooklyn

Families are invited to learn with Repair the World Brooklyn in an engaging virtual volunteer project! Learn about the needs of our local service partners, issues of equity, and how you can take action locally as Brooklyn is hard hit by the effects of the global pandemic. Geared to families with children 6-12 years old, but younger and older siblings are welcome.

Kate Thomas is Repair the World NYC’s Education & Family Program Manager. She leads Repair the World’s youth and family volunteer programs in Brooklyn and Harlem. She engages Jewish community and their neighbors to meet pressing local needs through volunteering, grounded in Jewish teachings and contextual learning on the justice issues we face. She is a licensed Master of Social Work and former Repair the World Fellow.

Matt Kaufman is a 2019-2020 Repair the World Brooklyn Fellow. This year, Matt has served as a lead volunteer at St. John’s Bread and Life, engaged the Jewish community in service, and shared social justice learnings alongside the teachers at CBE’s at Yachad.

“How Racist and Anti-Semitic People Can Change: Patterns, Implications, and Our Role in the Process” taught by Molly Zeff

Former members of hate/extremist groups, from White Supremacists to neo Nazis to members of the Westboro Baptist Church, have dramatically shifted their personal ideologies over time and even become leaders in challenging hate groups. Through 3 individual case studies, we’ll explore patterns in their stories: who and what changed their beliefs? What led them to speak out against the ideologies they once espoused? We’ll briefly reflect on stories in Jewish tradition about people who overcame evil in themselves and then look at what these stories, as well as Jewish law, teach us about HOW to support people in changing themselves. Lastly, we’ll spend a little time talking about what it would look like to apply the lessons, patterns, and strategies we’ve discussed on an interpersonal and, someday, on a national level. What would a preventative program look like that takes on hatred before it ever takes root?

Molly Zeff is a member and organizer of multiple Jewish communities in Brooklyn. In her free time, Molly studies a range of social issues, from homelessness to racism to inequality, issues which she studied more formally in university. She has spent the past few years studying the stories of people who overcame their own racism and anti Semitism and began to believe that the lessons these stories have to teach us could be implemented in formal, creative ways to confront the growth of hate groups across the United States as pieces of their ideology have entered mainstream political discourse. Molly is interested in “workshopping” the role that “ordinary citizens” can play in addressing the rise of hate groups and their national influence. Professionally, she spent 10 years in social enterprises and nonprofits and now runs a small board game company full-time. She hopes to enter politics in the future.

“A Pandemic’s Progress: Recreation of the Self on the Way to Sinai” taught by Jessica Greenbaum

The 49-day drama of self reflection between Pesach and Shavuot includes themes of pioneering, leadership, living in harmony with others, and finding sustenance from our souls in isolation. We will look at a few contemporary poems refracting these themes, and consider their reverberations in our time of plague.

Jessica Greenbaum is a poet, teacher and social worker who has led CBE classes on Pirke Avot, Genesis, and The Psalms, pairing their teachings with contemporary experience found in the narrative poetry of our time.

6 PM

“Psalm 150 Around the World and Back Again” taught by Cantor Josh Breitzer

Join Cantor Breitzer in exploring a diversity of musical settings for the grand finale of the Book of Psalms! We’ll use a combination of video performances and live singing into our screens.

Cantor Josh Breitzer feels blessed to have served Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope since 2011. In addition to his duties at CBE, he is an adjunct instructor at HUC-JIR New York and a Vice President of the American Conference of Cantors, which offers spiritual leadership and sacred music to Reform congregations throughout the world.

“Cooking and Tales” taught by Tehilah Eisenstadt & Haley Breskin

Let’s make cheesecake b’Yachad (together)! Families of all ages will learn how to make a traditional Ashkenazi Shavuot food: cheesecake (we will offer alternatives for gluten free or dairy free families) with Haley Breskin of CBE’s Yachad program and BESTY/BESTY Jr. We will then participate in some interactive classic stories of Shavuot, told by Tehilah Eisenstadt, CBE’s Director of Yachad & Family Engagement. Together we will decide how these tales can inspire individual family Shavuot celebrations at home. For a detailed recipe list, click here.

“Opening up to Torah with all Five Senses” taught by Phyllis Sussman and Laura Marder

Thunder, lightning, smoke and a long, loud blast of the shofar. The sights and sounds of the revelation of Torah were so dramatic that Mount Sinai began to tremble! We will begin together by revisiting the multi-sensory experience of receiving the Torah through a mindful visualization practice. In small group and chevrutah discussions using Zoom breakout rooms, we will explore the question “Why did the revelation of Torah use all five sentences?” By ending our session through song, we will fully open our hearts and minds for the night of experiencing Torah. This session is designed for students and their families from third grade and up.

Phyllis Sussman is the Judaic Studies Coordinator at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School. She has spent the past 19 years working as a Jewish educator and is the proud mother of three Senesh students. Phyllis feels very fortunate to work with Laura Marder, Senesh’s 5th and 6th grade Judaic Studies teacher.

Laura Marder is a lead educator and facilitator for Beloved Brooklyn and Brooklyn Beit Midrash and a skilled practitioner of Jewish meditation. At Senesh, we embrace the rich mosaic of identities reflected in contemporary Jewish life and support our families on their Jewish journeys. Both Phyllis and Laura enjoy finding new and creative ways to help others find connection to Jewish life and practice.

“Science and Torah: Two complimentary disciplines with the same goal: Understanding Our Creator” taught by Shlomo Fingerer

The rabbis teach us that The Torah is the prototype of The Universe. Is it unreasonable to think of the study of the universe, aka Science, as adversarial to the study of Torah? Aren’t they both the same pursuit, one from the bottom up, and one from the top down?

Can the explosion in our knowledge of the universe allow us to access the enigmatic, mystical, wisdom of Kabbalah?

I’d like your thoughts regarding my understanding of:
a) “The Big Bang” as answering Rashi’s first question in his commentary on Chumash.
b) “Evolution” as uncovering the “pshat” in the verse describing Hashem’s creation of man.

Shlomo Fingerer is ‘Modern Charedi’. While in Columbia University, he, of Lakewood Kollel culture, ‘discovered’ Modern Orthodoxy. He studies the burgeoning field of Positive Psychology and is on the rabbinical team of The Young Israel of Baychester.

“Shavuot & Food Waste” taught by Repair the World Brooklyn

This Shavuot, study with NYC Repair about all things food waste! We’ll discuss the implications of food waste on our communities and shine a spotlight on local service. With an increased need for emergency food supply during COVID-19, we’ll explore the opportunities for sustainable agriculture and share more about a local Brooklyn partner producing their own fresh produce.

Brenna Rosen recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. Brenna advises Challah for Hunger chapters which raise money for hunger relief organizations. She enjoys planning and facilitating events and is excited to use her passions and strengths to work on the education system and get people involved in their own communities.

Caitlin Garbo recently graduated from Cornell University. As a Repair the World Fellow, she has worked closely with Hunger Free America on outreach, advocacy, and direct service, engaging deeply with Central Brooklyn community organizations. She also collaborates with Hannah Senesh Community Day School on social justice educational materials.

Megillat Ruth and Drash with Altshul

Join Altshul as we chant Megillat Ruth, enjoy a drash to follow, and lift a l’chaim as we enter Shavuot. Our leyners will be Josh Henkin, Hillel Gruenberg, Larry Magarik, and Lonnie Firestone; drash by Talia Milgrom-Elcott.

“Falling Off the Roof: Jewish Broadway Musicals That AREN’T ‘Fiddler'” taught by Gabriela Geselowitz

Try to think of a Broadway musical about a Jewish experience that isn’t ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ (No, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ doesn’t count). If you can’t think of any, this class is for you. If you can think of 1-5, this class is especially for you. If you can think of more than a dozen, talk to me privately. Musical theatre is a historically American Jewish art form, and both before ‘Fiddler’ and after it, there have been shows that have spoken to Jewish lives, culture, and history. What are some of these shows, and what stories do they tell? What do they show about the way American Jews want to see ourselves? And importantly, are any of them any good? Let’s dive in. There will be music.

Gabriela Geselowitz is on the communications team at the Actors’ Equity Association, where she doesn’t technically need to be obsessed with theatre, but it sure helps. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Jewish professional, including journalism with a focus on arts criticism. Also, check out her musical theatre podcast that will soon be making its return: ‘Pick A Little, Talk A Little.’

8 PM: Shavuot Across Brooklyn Ma’ariv Service

Click here for the meeting link
Join us for an evening service welcoming Shavuot led by multiple clergy people from several communities, with instrumental music.

9 PM: Sarah Hurwitz in Conversation with Rabbi Rachel Timoner: A Jewish Journey in the White House and Beyond

This will be livestreamed on CBE’s Facebook Live. Please note you do not need a Facebook account to watch the livestream! Visit facebook.com/cbebk at 9 PM to tune in.

After over a decade as a political speechwriter—serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, and chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign—Sarah Hurwitz decided to apply her communication skills to writing a book…about Judaism. And no one is more surprised than she is. In conversation with Rabbi Rachel Timoner, she’ll talk about what led her to engage in deep Jewish learning and the life-changing wisdom and insight she discovered along the way.

From 2009 to 2017, Sarah Hurwitz served as a White House speechwriter, first as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Prior to serving in the Obama Administration, Sarah was chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign. Sarah is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and she is the author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).

10 PM-12 AM: Learning Block Two

10 PM

“Wisdom waters for a house on fire” taught by Rabbi Sara Luria

My friend and teacher, Adam Horowitz, co-founder of Nuns and Nones, shared, in pre-pandemic times, that our faith traditions can be “wisdom waters for a house on fire.” He was speaking metaphorically, but for now, I am taking him literally. The wise waters of our world can soften and transform us, if we invite them to.

Rabbi Sara Luria co-founded Beloved, a home-based Jewish gathering space, and serves as the rabbi of the Brooklyn location. Prior to Beloved, Sara’s experiences as a community organizer, birth doula, and hospital chaplain inspired her to found ImmerseNYC, a pluralistic, feminist, grassroots-energized community mikveh (ritual bath) project, now housed at the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center of Manhattan. Ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Sara lives back in her hometown of Brooklyn with her husband, Isaac, and their three young kiddos, Caleb, Eva, and Judah.

“Super Women in Tanach, N’shey Chayil” taught by Rabbi David L. Kline

Repeatedly, in narratives throughout Tanach (Hebrew Bible), in difficult circumstances, in crisis, a female character pops up to save the day. Despite legal status as chattel and their homebound role, these women are relied upon for skills, courage, and decisive action on behalf of community and nation.

Hebrew Union College, 1962, Brandeis 1957. CBE Chevrah Torah for 7 years. Congregations in New York, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, Monroe, Louisiana. Husband of Barbara (modern dancer, educator, organizer). Father of Avram and Dhita (public school teacher, nurse practitioner), Aliza and Bradley (One Table, Surprise Lake Camp) and Shira (sweet singer/spirituality teacher). Grandfather of Ela, Gila, Nomi, Isaiah Bodhi.

“How Did Shavuot Become About Revelation?” taught by Larry Magarik

The Torah describes Shavuot as an agricultural festival. We now understand the holiday as the date of receipt of the Torah. How, when and why was this connection established? We will examine Apocryphal and Rabbinic sources to see whether they teach us something about the mechanics of revelation. Click here for the source sheet for this session.

Larry Magarik has taught at the Altshul Bet Midrash, Shavuot Across Brooklyn, National Havurah Institute and Prozdor, served as a cantor and lawyer, and published articles on Biblical subjects.

“A new era for Israel-Diaspora Relations” taught by Rabbi Josh Weinberg

During this session, we will look at different models – using ancient and modern texts to aid us in our understanding of Israel-Diaspora relations and explore how the changing circumstances of our time – including the changing social and societal structure as a result of the Coronavirus – will impact our relationship with Israel in light of the new Israeli government, prospects for annexation and the upcoming U.S. Presidential campaign.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem and is currently living in New York. Josh previously served as the Director of the Israel program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a faculty member of NFTY-EIE High School in Israel teaching Jewish History. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003.

“Resilience: Jewish Wisdom for Keeping up when Life Gets you Down” taught by Rabbi Sam Weintraub

The coronavirus pandemic challenges us to maintain physical health, emotional resilience and religious faith in the face of personal restrictions and an environment of fear and relentlessly distressing news. Jewish tradition, from Sinai to Heschel, provides resources not only to survive, but even to flourish and celebrate, even if in unconventional ways. We will explore texts from Psalms, Talmudic Midrash, Mussar (modern Yeshiva ethical tradition), Jewish philosophy, and the sociology of religion.

Rabbi Sam Weintraub has been spiritual leader of Kane Street Synagogue in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, for the last 24 years. He is a member of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and Aleph: Institute for Jewish Renewal. He was graduated from Haverford College and the Jewish Theological Seminary. An alumnus also of an Orthodox Yeshiva, labor Zionist camps, and USY, with prior professional experience in Reconstructionist and independent Shuls, as well as campus Hillel (MIT) and interfaith affairs (American Jewish Committee), he cherishes opportunities for trans-denominational learning such as Shavuot across Brooklyn.

“The Microbiome: Mind, Body, and Spirit” taught by Dr. Healy Smith

In this shiur we will look at mind, body, and spirit through the lens of the human microbiome (the collection of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in us and on us and are in fact an essential part of who we are and how we function). We will weave together Jewish text, science, medicine, and psychology as we explore who we are, what we are made of and how that informs our paths to living healthy, vital, and meaningful lives.

Healy Smith, MD found in psychiatry a meeting of science and soul, brain and gut. She practices adult psychiatry, specializing in integrative approaches and women’s mental health, and has published and lectured in these fields. She has a private practice, and teaches at Weill Cornell/ NY Presbyterian Hospital. She received a B.Sc in biology from Brown University, and completed medical school and residency at UCLA, followed by a fellowship in reproductive psychiatry at Cornell/ NY Presbyterian Hospital. She is board certified in Psychiatry and in Integrative and Holistic Medicine. For the past 5 years, Healy has been captivated by the emerging research on the microbiome. She lectures on its relevance to psychiatry and health, on its existential implications, illumination of the interconnected web within us and amidst us, and the perspectives it shines on food, ecology, community, and environmentalism.

11 PM

“Revisiting Jewish yearning in a time when we’re all yearning” taught by Rabbi Matt Green

The pandemic has all of us yearning for a different and better time, which we hope may come speedily in our days. Sound familiar? Longing of this nature is not foreign to Jews. This text study will explore some of our ancient yearnings as a people, and what those yearnings might teach us for the present moment.

Rabbi Matt Green is the Assistant Rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim, where he is also the Director of the Brooklyn Jews community. He was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2018, the same year he was recognized as one of the New York Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36.”

“Miles and Points: How to get to Israel for cheap or free as miles maven” taught by Brian Cohen

It may be strange to think of future travel during a pandemic but at some point your passport will allow international travel again and it’s good to plan ahead. Come to this session to learn some basic tools and tips you can take advantage of right now in order to make your next trip to Israel (or elsewhere) more ritzy for less money.

Brian Cohen is a math and computer science teacher, pun-lover, and avid traveller who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife, Alina. Over the past four years they have traveled to five continents in various forms of business/first class cabins for way less money than you’d expect.

“Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: Shavuot Edition” taught by Rachel Jacobs

This is the practice of treating literature as a sacred text, using themes and religious practices to gain meaning and insight from the text for the story and our lives. We’ll be reading a chapter of Harry Potter through the theme of Anticipation and use Talmudic and traditional reading practices such as Pardes, marginalia, and florilegia to discuss insight from the text and tie it back to Shavuot. It’s a different kind of text study!

Rachel Jacobs is an audio producer. She lives in Brooklyn.

“The Pact of Umar, the Ottoman Reforms of 1856 and power Relations between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East” taught by Malaika Martin

Malaika Martin bounces back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn (and sometimes even Queens) seeking Jewish and general self-actualization while masquerading as a corporate worker bee.

From Mount Sinai to the March in DC: Connecting Shavuot and the Poor People’s Campaign

As a part of a series of events and programs this year, we’re connecting the Jewish holidays and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Together, we’ll learn more about revelation and covenant. We’ll connect that with the history, demands, and call to action of the Campaign as it works to combat poverty, racism, militarism, environmental degradation, and the false moral narrative of Christian nationalism. Hopefully, in this moment that we prepare to accept the responsibility of the Torah, we’ll be inspired and find meaningful ways to accept responsibility for combatting these interfunctioning evils. Even if you can not participate in this session, you can contribute or sign up for more information here.

Jonathan Spear is a lifelong educator, and founder of Vital Schools, helping teachers, schools and districts develop coherence and their effectiveness. He is a proud member of CBE, Saturday morning regular, and member of the Board. He has been volunteering with the Poor People’s Campaign since June 2018, and helps organize faith based communities.

“The Bedtime Sh’ma Works” taught by Rabbi David L. Kline

Sh’ma is set in a context of Psalms and philosophical musings designed for comfort and reassurance and especially, resolution of those mind events that keep us awake. It ends with a familiar song. We can pray and sing ourselves to sleep.

Hebrew Union College, 1962, Brandeis 1957. CBE Chevrah Torah for 7 years. Congregations in New York, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, Monroe, Louisiana. Husband of Barbara (modern dancer, educator, organizer). Father of Avram and Dhita (public school teacher, nurse practitioner), Aliza and Bradley (One Table, Surprise Lake Camp) and Shira (sweet singer/spirituality teacher). Grandfather of Ela, Gila, Nomi, Isaiah Bodhi.

12-2 AM: Learning Block Three

12 AM

“First Impressions” taught by Rabbi Josh Weinberg”

It’s never too late to make a first impression of Torah. But what do we mean when we say Torah? This session will take a tour of the Jewish canonical bookshelf looking at the first paragraphs of our classical works. We will compare and contrast and ask what we can assume and understand about each work by reading each introductory paragraph.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem and is currently living in New York. Josh previously served as the Director of the Israel program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a faculty member of NFTY-EIE High School in Israel teaching Jewish History. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel-trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003.

“Midnight Repair: From Mourning the Exile to Honoring the COVID-19 Dead” taught by Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips

The past two months have seen renewal of an ancient Jewish practice of remote nightly vigil — bearing witness to painful realities of exile through healing rhythms of response. Vigil-keeping is a simple yet profound meditation that can help to restore the broken rhythms of community life. Come learn how a growing network of remote vigil-keepers is bearing witness day and night, across generations and time zones, to the COVID-19 dead and all who care for them. Experiences of current vigil-keepers will be shared, along with considerations of the biblical vigil beneath the “cloud of unknowing” in the wilderness, rabbinic traditions of Tikkun Hatzot (Midnight Repair), and contemporary testimonies from the post-9/11 disaster relief and 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. As clouds of grief continue to rise and descend through our current pandemic, we can expand this effort into a global interfaith mobilization of compassion and courage.

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips has helped to empower caring communities worldwide over the past two decades with guidance and resources for end-of-life sacred fellowship. She was honored for her leadership in the post-9/11 NYC disaster relief, participated in the 2005 interfaith Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and has kept vigil for the dead in hospital rooms and morgues, funeral home parlors and basements, and private homes. Share the Vigil is a “How to Mourn AND Organize” initiative of WAYS OF PEACE Community Resources, which renews kindness and justice across lines of diversity and throughout the life cycle.

“Nigonim as balm for the soul and the bridge to revelation” with Russ Agdern

Come sing some melodies with me.

Russ Agdern is a yid in Brooklyn. Cofounder and davening coordinator of Shir HaMaalot, and maybe his greatest achievement, to his wife Marisa’s chagrin, is to get his 5.5 year old son Elijah to bellow “SHABBOS KOIDESH” at perfect moments. What Russ really likes most is singing with you.