Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,
Tomorrow night at sundown we enter into one of the most special holidays of our year: Shavuot.
Shavuot comes at the end of the 49 days of the Counting of the Omer. We have counted every day between the second night of Pesach and now, eagerly crossing days off on our calendar like children anticipating a birthday.
On Shavuot, we celebrate the revelation of Torah: both the once-upon-a-time revelation which our tradition tells us took place at Sinai, and the ongoing revelation which still streams into creation now if we are only willing to open our hearts to listen.
Shavuot is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the Three Great Pilgrimage Festivals when we used to walk en masse to Jerusalem to make offerings to God at the Temple. This year I invite you to make your own small “pilgrimage” to our places of holy gathering and to join with community in receiving the Torah you most need this year.
On Tuesday evening we’ll celebrate Shavuot at the Williams College Jewish Religious Center with the Bennington and Williams Jewish communities. We have an amazing line-up of learning scheduled for the evening — not to mention the espresso milkshakes! Please join us. (The schedule appears below.)
And on Wednesday morning we’ll celebrate Shavuot at CBI with services led by Rabbi Pam Wax, including a Yizkor / memorial service, beginning at 10am. Please join us. (Information about that appears below, too.)
A midrash holds that at Sinai, for the revelation of Torah, the souls of every Jew who would ever live were all present together. May this Shavuot connect us with our ancestors and our descendants, with Jews celebrating Shavuot around the world, and with God.
See you at Sinai!
Reb Rachel / Rabbi Barenblat
Schedule for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
(our Shavuot Eve Study Session)
8:30pm: Short-and-sweet festival ma’ariv (evening service) led by Cantor Bob Scherr
Schedule of learning (starting at 9pm, running until we’re done; there is no obligation to stay the whole time, so come for what you can!)
Rabbi Pam Wax: Counting the Omer and Acquiring Torah: A Mussar Intensive
Rabbi Howard Cohen: Accepting the yoke of heaven, accepting the yoke of mitzvot
Chaim Bronstein: Pirkei Avot and our relationship to government
Cantor Bob Scherr: Book of Ruth – chanting and teaching
Zoe Burt: Body modification and Jewish tradition
Robyn Kozeirok: Women of the Wall
Rabbi Jarah Greenfield: Mountains and Fields in the Landscape of Revelation
Jen Burt: Raising a Family on Tradition or Faith?
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat: After the summit, the climb: a Hasidic teaching about the ascent to Shavuot
Sarah Zager: Lo Ba’Shamayim Hi: Revelation in Modern Jewish Thought
Shavuot Morning at CBI
10:00 am: Festival shacharit (morning service) at CBI led by Rabbi Pam Wax
Please join us for the Shavuot festival service on Wednesday morning, May 15 at 10 AM. This holiday celebrates the giving of Torah and will include a dramatic reading of the Ten Commandments, Hallel, a yizkor memorial service, and a brief rendering of the Book of Ruth, the scroll associated with Shavuot. To commemorate this holiday on which dairy foods are eaten, delicious chocolate cheesecake imported from NYC will be served at kiddush!