Koolulam in Conversation
Rabbi Joy Levitt + Koolulam
Join Rabbi Joy Levitt as she talks with members of the Israeli singing sensation Koolulam. A social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society through mass singing events, Koolulam makes the audience the artist as it brings people from all walks of life together in harmony. Together we will launch this year's Paul Feig z"l Tikkun Leil Shavuot with a heart-lifting sense of togetherness, connection, and song.
The Zoharic Origin of Tikkun Leil Shavuot
We will explore the earliest description of Tikkun Leil Shavuot, which appears in the Zohar. In this passage, the word tikkun refers to "adorning" Shekhinah through the night with gems of Torah, preparing Her to unite with Her divine spouse on the morning of Shavuot.
There's a Crack in Everything: Learning From Leonard Cohen
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin
Leonard Cohen, z"l, was a renowned songwriter and poet. Few poets and songwriters have so effectively engaged the theme of overcoming despair. What clues does the singer-songwriter offer us on how to repair the world and ourselves? Listen to the songs and study the lyrics as sacred texts.
Ethical (and Delicious) Lessons from The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook
Elisa Spungen Bildner + Robert Bildner
Join us for a discussion of the ethics of 42 farmers (and farm-to-table chefs) interviewed for the new book, The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook. These farmers operate small family farms paralleling Jewish precepts concerning agriculture and food—whether they are Jewish or not. Supporting these farms is important especially for Jews, since we embrace values like bal taschit (prohibiting waste), shmita (letting lands lie fallow during the sabbatical year), and tzaar baalei chayim (not letting animals suffer).
Studying Harry Potter as a Sacred Text
Casper ter Kuile
Join a text study class like no other—reading Harry Potter as a sacred text! We'll turn to the opening chapter of the wizarding series to ask big questions about life, loss, and love. We'll draw on ancient reading practices like PaRDeS and Lectio Divina to discover what lies underneath the famous story—and what it might mean in this moment. Harry Potter nerds and skeptics both welcome!
Sinai, COVID + Revelation: Darkness and Light, Fear and Hope
Rabbi Irwin Kula and Maria Sirois
What do we hear in the fog and fear of Sinai? What can we learn in the loss and sorrow of COVID? Drawing on positive psychology and Jewish wisdom, we will explore how Sinai and COVID—both moments of revelation—help us see the hope that exists when we face the truth of reality exactly as it is, however messy it may be. As life's joys and sufferings flow into and from each other, how can we craft a life that includes our deepest fears and sorrows and nurtures happiness, meaning, and love?
Eagle, Rock, Fortress: Biblical Metaphors to Carry Us Through COVID-19
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann
In a time that is as frightening and unsettling as the one we are in during COVID-19, we turn to our tradition for words of comfort and inspiration. In this session, we will explore how biblical metaphors and images can help us, especially in this moment, reimagine our relationship with God, others, and self and lift us up from the despair and suffering in our hearts. This session is for anyone looking for faith and comfort in this moment—believer, skeptic, and atheist alike.
Colliding Dreams: Renewing Zionism—Film Clips + Conversation
John Ruskay, Oren Rudavsky, and Joseph Dorman
Join us for a conversation with the directors of the documentary Colliding Dreams, featuring select clips from the film. Colliding Dreams is an exploration of the dream of a Jewish state and its impact on both Jews and Arabs, unfolding across the broad canvas of 150 years of history, from 19th-century Europe to the modern Middle East.
The Regendered Bible: "Erase Me from Your Book"
The Regendered Bible, or Toratah, is an initiative by artist Yael Kanarek to rewrite the Bible by reversing the genders of all characters. This technical adaptation unsettles habitual thinking of our ancient stories. Toratah enables Divine influence to pass down a female lineage and codifies women’s experience in sacred terms. Among the many extraordinary female characters that come to life, Prophetess Moshah shines bright. Tonight, we will follow her from the Ye’or to Mount Nevo and glance at the complex relationship she has with תהוה Elohin.
Social Distancing and the Path to Paradise
Pandemics, social distancing, and the fear of death are not a new thing. The Talmud tells us of such times, and of the strict measures decreed by the rabbis to combat the disease. In this session we will study a humorous and inspiring Talmudic tale about the bravery of one man, Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi, whose chutzpah and love of Torah led him from the grim reality of death and social-distancing straight to heaven.
Standing Before...and After Sinai
Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove
Shavuot's traditional focus is on the giving of law at Mount Sinai. In this session we will examine the rich history of Biblical and Midrashic texts leading up to Sinai and following Sinai—and why they are important prisms to consider Jewish life today.
Reimaging Life, Loss and Love during Covid-19: Text, Ritual and Story to Lift our Spirit
Jeannie Blaustein, Rabbi Dr. Jenny Solomon, and Rabbi Sydney Mintz
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives in so many ways. How can we reimagine what it means to love, to lose and to live fully during this time. Through music, text, story and ritual, this program will share inventive and uplifting ways to lean into and live with the emotional, practical and spiritual challenges we are all facing.
The Choral Torah: Five Books in Four Parts
Ancient words reanimated with fresh four-part harmony! During the Jewish year 5779, Josh Ehrlich composed one choral piece each week by selecting text from that week's parsha and setting it for an a cappella choir. Josh and his team of singer-educators now present both this music and its Torah through an interactive lecture titled Wordplay and Word Painting in Biblical and Musical Language. Journey through the five books like never before—in four parts.
Coffee: Shaping Shavuot and Passover Since the 16th Century
Join in a historical discussion of Jewish coffee consumption and practices that started in the 1500s. This story percolates from the "wine of Islam" to coffeehouses across the Middle East, Europe, and perhaps a Sephardi-active market in Seattle. Sources include rabbinic texts, your Passover haggadah, and, if you're inclined, your favorite brew.
Finding Meaning in Brokenness and Isolation:
Addiction, Recovery, Talmud, and How Spirituality Can Heal Lost Souls
Rabbi Igael Gurin Malous
Finding meaning is at the center of recovery from addictions of all kinds. Our sacred texts allow us a glimpse not just into our own lives but the lives of our ancestors. The human condition has remained similar for thousands of years, so it's no surprise that alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling are part of Talmud. Join us in study, seek answers, and commit to change so that we are all better prepared and can face the challenges of life and recovery. You don't have to be an addict to be in recovery.
Finding Sustenance in Challenging Times: A Service of Hope and Healing
Rabbi Lisa Gelber
On this evening of gathering from home, accept the invitation to presence. Using texts of love, hope, anticipation, and tears, we will interweave song and silence, poetry and prayer. Join together to create the space to feed our souls. Cheesecake optional.
The Marriage of Heaven and Earth: A Mystical Embodiment of the Shema
Shavuot symbolizes the mystical marriage between God and Israel, Heaven and Earth. Explore this most sacred union though a kabbalistic interpretation of the Shema. We will delve into kabbalistic symbolism and energy-enhancing practices, feeling the words of the Shema physically embodied to take on a new power that can be used both for healing and self-revelation.
Truth vs. Love
Rabbi Joy Levitt + Rabbi Michael Strassfeld
We will examine the Talmudic story of a person who wants to convert to Judaism but only on the condition that he can learn the whole Torah while standing on one foot. Actually, there are two other such stories with important differences. We will unpack the many levels of these seemingly simple tales. More than a tale of opposite responses of Hillel and Shammai or of conversion, these texts present two stark choices of how to respond to life's challenges.
Unorthodox: A Conversation with Co-Creator Anna Winger
Anna Winger in conversation with Isaac Zablocki
The much talked-about Netflix series Unorthodox follows a young Hasidic woman from Brooklyn who flees to Berlin. Co-Creator and writer Anna Winger tells the transformative story of Esty, who lives by the strict rules of her community until she breaks away. Just as she begins to discover a whole new world, her past catches up to her. Join us for conversation with Anna Winger as she reflects on the making of the show, the inspiration, and the responses from the public.
The Wine Revolution in Israel...Paired with Sephardi Cuisine
Neighborhood favorite Vino Levantino is first and foremost a wine bar, with wines imported from all over the world—including Israel. The menu reflects the diversity of owner Haim Amit's heritage, hailing from the Ottoman Empire, a cuisine influenced by the Sephardic Jews who traveled to Israel through Turkey. Tonight Haim teaches a simple recipe for Turkish meatballs, as well as a vegan alternative...and will pair red wines that go well with this dish.
Bargaining with God
Rabbi Mira Rivera
Bargaining with parents, guardians, and teachers is something that we have done all our lives. If you do X, then I will do Y. And who has not bargained with God in these COVID-19 times? If you keep my beloved alive, if you restore me in health, if I get to keep my job, then I will (fill in the blank). What does calling the divine to task with chutzpah and compassion look like in our biblical, rabbinical, kabbalistic, and modern texts?
Revelations: The Science and Practice of Making Change Last
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
We often have moments of revelation, a need to write more, keep kosher, eat healthier, meditate, or exercise—but the changes don't stick. In this workshop you'll learn a powerful self- discovery process to give you what you need to make change last. Understand what a change journey really looks like. Uncover the key question that will create more energy for change. Learn a key practice that will point your mind in the direction of the change you're looking for.
Idan Raichel: Stories and Songs
Idan Raichel + Elisha Wiesel
During a career spanning a mere 15 years, Idan has become not only the most successful artist in Israel but also one of Israel's most successful artists abroad, with tours that include performances at some of the leading festivals as well as shows in the most prestigious venues around the world. Idan has become an ambassador representing a world of hope in which artistic collaboration breaks down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. Tonight the acclaimed Israeli singer will join us live from his home for an intimate conversation filled with stories and songs, with JCC community member and music aficionado Elisha Wiesel.
What's Your Sign? Astrology Through a Jewish Lens
Nadine Jane and Rabbi Abigail Treu
What does Judaism say about astrology? Is it kosher or bunk? Join Nadine Jane, astrologer with nearly 250,000 followers, and Rabbi Abigail Treu of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, in a conversation about the present, the future, astrology, faith, and how we choose our sources of guidance and wisdom.
To Whom Was the Torah Really Given?
MK Merav Michaeli
Some believe that God Himself spoke to us and chose us and gave us the Torah. But they have to admit that all of us, all kinds of Jews, received the Torah. Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Torah, is the holiday which must celebrate the multitude of interpretations and the diversity in life forms according to the Torah. So how do we make this our reality?
Franz Rosenzweig on the Notion of Revelation
Rabbi Michael Paley
In his majestic book The Star of Redemption, the great 20th-century German-Jewish philosopher Rosenzweig describes revelation as not only an encounter between humans and the Divine but also as a way toward the re-enchantment of the world. We will explore his timeless description of that encounter.
The History of Israeli Fashion: From the Kibbutz to Tel Aviv
Liraz Cohen Mordechai
The presentation tells the story of Israel from the late 19th century until today. Every milestone in Israel's story is presented in two layers: history and fashion. During the session, we will discover how significant events have influenced the creation of a new "Israeli outfit" time and time again.
Ascending to Jerusalem in Justice... A Textual Journey
Rabbi Naamah Kelman and Dr. Elan Ezrahi
Explore texts on Jerusalem, justice, and hope as we head through the overnight stretch of this pilgrimage holiday.
The Most Important Commandment: "Honour thy Father and thy Mother"
כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ. What does it mean, why is it a commandment, and for how long do you have to keep it?
Noa: A Closing Concert for the Paul Feig z"l Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Join Israel's leading international singer/songwriter for a live performance from her home.
We are so pleased to offer vibrant, comprehensive virtual programs such as this year's Tikkun Leil Shavuot, at no cost to the community. To help ensure that we are able to continue providing these opportunities for our community to come together during these difficult times, please consider making a donation to the JCC so we can sustain ourselves now and reopen strongly in the future.