A few years ago many in our community came together to celebrate a Chanukah Ball and many suggested that we should do this more often.
A year ago, I received an email from someone saying, “Let’s make a joint Shavuot program with other shuls.”
The year has flown by and next month five Ottawa congregations – Adath Shalom, Agudath Israel, Beth Shalom, Or Haneshamah and Temple Israel – will hold a joint Shavuot program: Shavuot Together.
Just as they did on Mount Sinai when receiving the Torah, many Jewish people with different spiritual beliefs will come together for the first Tikkun Leyl Shavuot when, together, we will experience a night of learning. Our goal is to draw as many people as we can to learn as a community.
Starting with an interactive family Shavuot experience facilitated by Eliyanah Delicate, followed by a night filled with adult learning, singing, and, of course, ice cream, this night promises to a great success.
The night was not difficult to plan. We agreed we’d need four main ingredients to make our blended recipe work: people, food, great speakers, and a nice shul service. We know we will have three of the four – and I can assure you, they will be great.
An ice cream sundae bar, what could be better?
The adult learning sessions will begin with Rabbi Steven Garten’s keynote address, “Revelation through the Midrash.”
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton will lead two sessions including “Who Do We Think We Are? Exploring Jewish Identity.” Probe beyond the polls, predications, and prognostications about the Jewish future, and actively – literally – explore how we are living our Jewish lives today, beyond stereotypes and assumptions. Our shared Torah is guaranteed to surprise and enlighten you.
Rabbi Bolton’s late-night learning session will be “Loyalty and Love: Themes in the Book of Ruth.” This compact and elegant megilah is rich in themes, values and literary tropes. We’ll start with an overview and then dive into some close reading and consideration of the characters and themes in light of Ruth’s time, and ours.
David Brooks will speak on “What Does the Torah Say About Climate Change?” Ecology may be a science, but environmentalism is a movement and almost anywhere there’s a movement, there one will find Jews. Moreover, most Jews find inspiration for their movement work, directly or indirectly, somewhere in Judaism. Therefore, this talk is about Jewish environmentalism, as opposed to environmentalists who happen to be Jewish.
Rabbi Rob Morais will lead an exploration of the themes in the the Book of Ruth. This often ignored text has so much to teach us about love, life commitment and making sure that people feel welcomed into the community of Jewish life.
Rabbi Deborah Zuker will lead “Twisted Talmud: Up to His Neck in Torah, Out of Touch with the World,” in which we will explore the Talmudic tale of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who was so immersed in Torah study that he could no longer tolerate our imperfect world. This fantastical story will provide a glimpse into the culture and attitudes of the rabbis of old, and will allow us to ponder the question of whether one can ever study too much Torah. Don’t worry, no prior knowledge, experience with Talmud study, or Hebrew is required.
Joel Yan will lead a “Chant, Pray, Dance” session at which he’ll briefly highlight the influence of Chassidic music – focusing on the music of the Modzitzer chassidim – and neo-Chassidic and Jewish renewal music. He will then teach us some niggunim and melodies you can use to enhance your private and communal davening experience. We will be encouraged to dance to some of these joyous Chassidic niggunim. Joel will also lead us in a couple of ecstatic Hebrew prayer chants from Rabbi Shefa Gold and other leaders in the Jewish renewal movement.
All of this along with davening, singing and the ruach of Cantor Daniel Benlolo.
Come on out and enjoy our blended night of learning on Saturday, June 11 at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre. Family programming will begin at 6 pm and adult learning at 8 pm.