Join us as a number of Brooklyn’s minyanim, synagogues, and organizations come together for Shavuot Across Brooklyn, an all-night teaching and learning celebration commemorating the giving of the Ten Commandments. This year we will have some in-person learning and some virtual learning as a hybrid tikkun.

Beginning at 10 PM, the program will feature dozens of different lessons from some of the finest teachers from across Brooklyn, ending with sunrise services at 5:15 AM.

All in-person sessions will happen dispersed throughout Garfield Place, between Prospect Park West and 8th Avenue. Masks and social distancing are required. Stay tuned for any last minute weather-related changes.

Information about more sessions will be added here leading up to the holiday. Stay tuned!

Schedule and Learning Lineup


6 PM: Walking To(u)rah: Shavuot Walking Tour of Jewish Brooklyn

Led by Romemu Brooklyn. Start Shavuot on the move! Led by Jonathan Goldstein and his team, we’re going to explore historic Eastern Parkway from Lubavitch headquarters through the Caribbean hub. We’ll also return to the area’s storied history from the dawn of the U.S., exploring modern day life back to the Revolutionary War weaving the story of American Jewry and it’s three great waves of immigration. Rabbi Scott Perlo will infuse Torah into this walking tour like none other.

We will meet by the benches on the corner of Brooklyn Ave and Eastern Parkway at 6 PM sharp. Register here. Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be in effect.

8 PM: Shavuot Across Brooklyn Ma’ariv Service over Zoom

Zoom link to come
Join us for an evening service welcoming Shavuot led by multiple clergy people from several communities, with instrumental music.

8:30 PM: Traditional Egalitarian Minyan on the CBE Sanctuary Steps

9:15 PM: Kiddush on the CBE Sanctuary Steps

We’ll join together to kick off our evening of learning with Kiddush at 9:15 PM on the CBE Sanctuary Steps. Masks and social distancing required.

10-11 PM: Learning Block One

“Songs of Protest, Peace, Peoplehood – שירי מחאה, שירי העם, ושירי שלום” taught by Rabbi Josh Weinberg in person

This year, despite a pandemic requiring physical distancing, has seen a great deal of protesting, both in the U.S. and in Israel. Along with slogans, placards, and hashtags, some of our greatest thoughts and feelings are best expressed in poetry and song. This session will look at modern/contemporary Israeli songs, analyze their lyrics, and see how they are used in expressing an idea and speaking truth to power.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem, and is currently living in New York. 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 Sheftel Getz, and is the proud abba of Noa, Ella, Mia, and Alma.

“Why do we call them ‘criminals’?” taught by Rabbi Barat Ellman, Ph.D. in person

Among the many factors contributing to American’s carceral culture is the classification of people behind bars as “criminals,” a designation that gets attached before, during and after an individual is brought into the justice system. The term makes an ontological statement that draws a thick, impenetrable line between “us” (people who are not incarcerated) and “them” (the 2.9 million people currently in jails, prisons, and detention centers in the USA, and the approximately 5 million formerly incarcerated people). Drawing on religious texts as well as literature on incarceration, including Kaia Stern’s Voices from Prison, this session will look at the dehumanizing consequences of carceral terminology, the implications of that terminology for how the “criminal justice” system works, and explore alternatives to our country’s deeply misguided notions of crime, punishment, incarceration, and post-incarceration integration.

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 theology, Judaism and Biblical literature at Fordham University and with the Bard Prison Initiative, as well as in adult and interfaith education settings. Rabbi Ellman is a co-founder of, CAMMEER (Children of Abraham, Malcolm, Martin, Ella, Emma, Rosa and Rose) a multi-racial, cross faith group, is on the Rabbinic Councils of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ); the Faith Leaders Council of New Sanctuary Coalition, and the Advisory Committee for Faith Communities for Just Reentry, a coalition organized by Trinity Church, Wall St. As well she is an active member of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Voice for Human Rights; Gathering for Justice/The Justice League; Freedom Agenda, and the Religion and Socialism Working Group of the DSA.

“Choosing Delicious Words: Writing Poetry that Hits the Spot” taught by Hilary Lustick over Zoom

Writing poetry accesses a different part of the brain than any other type of writing. It requires us to ‘zoom out’ (no pun intended) from our analytical minds and see what words surface for what we’re experiencing, without judgment. This is an easy-going workshop where I’ll give a couple of tips for this process, as well as some prompts for writing. There will be time to share our writings for those interested! Check back here for the Zoom link.

Hilary Lustick is a published poet, educator, and researcher living in Somerville, Massachusetts.

“Celebrating Diversity in the Jewish Community” taught by Phyllis Sussman over Zoom

At the Hannah Senesh Community Day School, we are committed to the rich mosaic of Jewish life. We celebrate the diversity of Jewish identity, thought, and expression and draw on this diversity to deepen our appreciation and understanding of the richness of the broader Jewish community and of our own individual Jewish identities. In this session we will frame the exploration of our own complex Jewish identities with Jewish texts that celebrate Jewish diversity.

Phyllis Sussman is the Judaic Studies Coordinator at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School. She has spent the past 20 years working as a Jewish educator and is the proud mother of two Senesh students and one Senesh graduate.

“Hearing and Overhearing: A Shavuot Teaching by the Esh Kodesh” taught by Larry Magarik over Zoom

Kalonymus Kalman Shapira of Piaseczno was the last Rebbe of an unusual line in the Polish school of Chasidism, and adapted modern educational psychology to mysticism. Herded with his students into the Warsaw Ghetto, the Rebbe hid his sermons which were later discovered and published as the Esh Kodesh (Holy Fire), which left a strong impression for their brilliance and clarity. We will study one of his 1940 Shavuot sermons, and ask what it might teach us about Divine Revelation. The text will be in English with the Hebrew original available. Check back here for the Zoom link.

Larry Magarik has taught at the Altshul Bet Midrash, JTS Prozdor, National Havurah Institute, and other venues. He is also a cantor, attorney, and author of articles in Jewish Bible Quarterly and Kerem. He has been part of a number of outdoor minyanim over the past year.

“Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action” taught by the CBE Dayenu Circle over Zoom

How does our perspective as Jews uniquely inform the ways that we think about equity and justice and the climate crisis? What biblical and historical connections can we make that connect Judaism with working to end the climate crisis? Join us for a participatory session to learn about, and explore, these ideas.

The CBE Dayenu Circle is a group of people working together on climate action to make positive change with a Jewish voice. We work in concert with other Dayenu Circles across the country with the goal of advancing significant national climate policy while also working locally within our community. We do this work together not only to take effective action to confront the climate crisis, but to sustain ourselves and our spirits as we act.

11 PM-12 AM: Learning Block Two

“Workshop: Yiddish songs for Shavues” taught by Cantor Sarah Myerson over Zoom

We’ll learn Yiddish songs for Shavues (Shavu’ot); both older folk songs, and some newer compositions of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Everyone is welcome, you don’t need to know Yiddish or read music to participate! All song texts provided in transliteration and translation (click here). Gut yontif, a freylekhn shavues! Check back here for the Zoom link.

Sarah Myerson is a cantor actively working to bridge the worlds of Jewish religion and Yiddish culture. She is the Liturgical Director at Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, and has previously served congregations in New York, Massachusetts, and Israel. She was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly (2018), and conferred the Diploma of Hazzan and Master of Sacred Music by the Jewish Theological Seminary (2015). She writes and performs new compositions, for example with Jewish spiritual music duo Shekedina, and freelances as a musician, speaker, educator and Yiddish dance teacher and leader.

“First Impressions: A Brief Tour of the Jewish Bookshelf from Ancient to Modern Times” taught by Rabbi Josh Weinberg in person

The opening words, sentences and pages of a book are like a window into the world of the written word and the Jewish literary tradition. And with that, of course, there’s no second chance to make a first impression.

Opening the books of our Canon brings additional significance. What impressions do the opening passages of these books make? What makes these texts holy? If anything at all? What do we learn about each book/work by its opening, and what greater understanding of our tradition do we gain from by studying these works, as we spend our night studying, interpreting and preparing to receive Torah.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem, and is currently living in New York. 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 Sheftel Getz, and is the proud abba of Noa, Ella, Mia, and Alma.

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

We’ll read through a chapter of Harry Potter and treat the words as a holy text, analyzing it through sacred reading techniques like chevruta, pardes, and marginalia to read into the themes of the chapter and relate them back to both the celebration of Shavuot and lessons for life.

Rachel Jacobs is a sound designer and audio editor. She likes bike rides and coffee, but not at the same time.

“The world as seen in Psalm 104” taught by Rabbi David L. Kline over Zoom

Some Psalms are super pious, some raise sharp questions. Some are lyrical and some heavy. Some are confident, others worry. Psalm 104 combines a lot of these elements into a sophisticated literary description of the world as we know it. It also contains the key to understanding what may be the best known prayer in our usage. Check back here for the Zoom link

Rabbi David L. Kline has spent 50 years in pulpit, in Riverdale, Little Neck, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, and Monroe, Louisiana. He has taught Bible at University of Louisiana, studied at Brandeis, Hebrew University, Hebrew Union College, Mir Yeshivah, and Columbia. Rabbi Kline also teaches regularly at CBE. He is happily married to Barbara, parents to Avram (teacher and poet), Aliza (One Table), and Shira (Shirlala), and grandparents to Ela, Gila, Nomi, and Isaiah Bodhi.

“Shmita and Reparations: From Charity to Clarity and Solidarity through the Sabbatical Cycle” taught by Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips over Zoom

As formal reparations for American slavery remain elusive, this session will introduce a time-honored Jewish empowerment process—accessible to all, regardless of income—that connects our ancient cycles of sabbatical release with contemporary grassroots reparations efforts. Come learn how to reclaim tzedakah as “just-giving,” disarm long-standing taboos, and ultimately emerge from the economic justice underground to transform the mainstream.

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH, is the creator of Generous Justice and the coordinator of Share the Vigil. Both are programs of Ways of Peace, a social microenterprise that renews justice and kindness across lines of diversity and throughout the life cycle.

“‘As joyful as when they were given at Sinai’: Study as Revelation” taught by Marisa Harford in person

In Shir Hashirim Rabbah, Ben Azzai claims that teaching Torah makes the words “as joyful as when they were given at Sinai.” In what sense can our experience of teaching and learning Torah re-create an experience of revelation? What does it mean to understand study as a way of encountering the divine? Is study merely an approximation of this encounter, or is it the encounter itself? We will learn some midrashim together in chavruta to explore these questions for ourselves. Texts will be provided in both Hebrew / Aramaic and in English translation.

Having worked in education for over twenty years, Marisa Harford is keenly interested in teaching as a spiritual practice. In addition to her day job working to support teacher development systems in NYC schools, Marisa has taught on a range of topics at the National Havurah Committee Summer Institutes and retreats, and is currently enjoying brushing up on her Gemara skills through learning online with Svara.

“Ecstatic Dance for Torah Learners (Movement for Smarties)” taught by Sarah Schmerler over Zoom

For too long, we have been indoors and sitting. Hopefully some of that sitting has been spent studying Torah-but what of our bodies? How can we emerge and bring our minds and battered spirits out into the world? We will investigate this issue, and propose tentative steps for emerging our minds, not only outdoors, but back into the somatic. (With a Yiddishe flair, of course!)

Sarah Schmerler has been ecstatic dancing on Zoom since the pandemic hit NYC in March, 2020. Pre-pandemic, she was a regular participant in dance cyphers in the Pop-Locking community at Brooklyn Ballet (and hopes to again, soon). Her parents first flirted on the dance floor at a Jewish Educators’ Convention in the Catskills. The rest is “history”: Sarah + Judaism = Dance.

12-1 AM: Learning Block Three

“To Live is to Remember: A Vigil to Honor the Pandemic Dead and Beyond” taught by Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips over Zoom

Shavuot traditionally celebrates the counting of 49 days from liberation to revelation. But what if every day — and every life — counts? Since early April 2020, a diverse network of vigil-keepers has been fulfilling the supreme imperative of honoring the unclaimed and unnamed dead, throughout the U.S. and around the globe. Join us on vigil day 408 to explore the ancient tradition of Tikkun Hatzot / Midnight Repair, which responds to grief with healing gratitude for each day. We’ll learn how the continual willingness to honor the dead can inspire compassionate and creative action on behalf of the living.

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, MSW, MPH, is the creator of Generous Justice and the coordinator of Share the Vigil. Both are programs of Ways of Peace, a social microenterprise that renews justice and kindness across lines of diversity and throughout the life cycle.

“Torah & Trauma” taught by Rabbi Jonathan Leener in person

What does Jewish tradition teach us about overcoming trauma?

Rabbi Jonathan Leener is a co-founder and spiritual leader of Base BKLYN. He also serves as the rabbi of the Prospect Heights Shul.

“Good to be a Jew” taught by Rabbi David L. Kline over Zoom

Shver es tsu zein a Yid is an old expression meaning “It’s tough to be a Jew.” My take is that it may be so, given the demands (the “yoke of Heaven”), the counter cultural practices, the communal obligations, and, of course, the attitude of the rest of the world towards Jews. What makes the difficulty worth the effort is that it is good to be a Jew, good for the individual, for the family, the community, and the world. So let’s consider the good stuff. Check back here for the Zoom link

Rabbi David L. Kline has spent 50 years in pulpit, in Riverdale, Little Neck, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, and Monroe, Louisiana. He has taught Bible at University of Louisiana, studied at Brandeis, Hebrew University, Hebrew Union College, Mir Yeshivah, and Columbia. Rabbi Kline also teaches regularly at CBE. He is happily married to Barbara, parents to Avram (teacher and poet), Aliza (One Table), and Shira (Shirlala), and grandparents to Ela, Gila, Nomi, and Isaiah Bodhi.

“Why did an aged Moses get respect where we seniors don’t today?” taught by Tamar F. Crystal over Zoom

Aging is inevitable but respect for those who are advancing in years is rarer and rarer in our present society. Come and take a look at what our tradition says about elders and share what we can do to restore some of the status elders used to have in our communities.

Rabbi Tamar F. Crystal is Senior Chaplain, Senior Services for New York Board of Rabbis and rabbi of Bay Ridge Jewish Center

“This One Time at Jew Camp”: Youth Culture, ‘Continuity Crisis,’ and Sexuality at Jewish Summer Camps” taught by Sandy Fox in person

Over the past several decades, the hypersexual Jewish summer camp has emerged as an ingrained and largely uncritical stereotype in American Jewish culture. In the years since the #MeToo movement began, however, select institutions and movements have begun to take this stereotype more seriously, drawing a line between a communal focus on curbing interfaith marriage and Jewish youth spaces imbued with elements of rape culture. When and why did Jewish camps and youth movements get this complex reputation? In this conversation, we will trace the sexual history of Jewish summer camps from the 1950s through the present, utilizing historical sources and oral histories to shed light on these important contemporary debates.

Sandy Fox is historian of American Jewry, youth and childhood, and postwar Yiddishism. Her forthcoming book, The Jews of Summer, is a history of American Jewish summer camping. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the host and producer of Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish.

1-2 AM: Learning Block Four

“Hope: For better, or for worse?” taught by Sharon Jacker in person

Some say Shavuot represents the loving union between G-d and the Jewish people. What role does hope play in this relationship? Are we required to feel hopeful, or is that counterproductive? Or perhaps both? We’ll begin to trace various ideas about the proper role of the feeling of hope by reading textual sources through Psalms, Lamentations, Talmud (tractates Berakhot, Chagigah, & Sanhedrin) and by exploring commentary from R’ Abraham Isaac Kook, Rebecca Solnit, and R’ Jonathan Sacks to see what we think this means in the spring of 2021, as we might dare to feel hopeful.

Sharon is a systems person who has long been in charge of determining who is responsible for leading which rituals on Altshul’s Gabbai Team, so she’s typically all about logistics and the details of communal obligation. But this session on emotions is a departure for her, as Sharon works on integrating spirituality into a halachic framework. After all, one of her favorite classes this semester is on Chassidic thought, so maybe she’ll get out of her own head a little! Sharon grew up just north of Chicago, majored in Latin American studies at Smith College, worked on conflict resolution in Rio de Janeiro favelas, and now lives in Ocean Hill (the fancy real estate name for where Bedford Stuyvesant meets Brownsville). She works in education administration, learns at Yeshivat Maharat, and feels validated by how often she recognizes her own thought processes on the Talmud page.

“Coffee Talk: The Stimulating History of Jews and Coffee” taught by Avery Robinson in person

Let’s trace the evolution of Jewish coffee consumption from its 16th century debut as “the wine of Islam” to its unexpected connection with your Passover seder and Tikkun Leil Shavuot. We will look at texts from the Ottoman Empire, Ashkenazi Europe, and America.

Avery Robinson is a culinary historian, educator, and researcher originally from Metro Detroit. Avery has written over 100 pages on kugel and done extensive field research on coffeehouses and cafe culture. An avid homebaker, Avery has built a clay oven, baked challah for 300 on an open fire, and worked in bakeries in New York (bagels) and Tel Aviv (bread, viennoiserie). Avery’s dayjob is as a researcher and copyeditor for The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. He recently founded a rye-focused nonprofit, Rye Revival.

2-3 AM: Learning Block Five

Learning information to come.

3-4 AM: Learning Block Six

Learning information to come.

4-5 AM: Monday Morning Nigun Rise with Russ Agdern

Raise your voices and lift your spirits in wordless melodies to get ready to receive the Torah!

Russ Agdern is a yid who lives in Brooklyn, and my G-d does he miss singing with you.

5:15 AM: Hashkama Minyan in Mount Prospect Park

Monday, May 17 at 6:30 PM: Yizkor Memorial Service over Zoom

Zoom link to come