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Shavuot 5782-2022 at FTJC

image of manuscript with handwritten hebrew text descending from above to below

In smoke and fire, concealed and revealed, the Torah comes to us as a gift from God. On Shavuot, we open ourselves at night to receive the Torah, and enact our presence at Mount Sinai in the morning with Torah reading and celebration.

As in recent years we are pleased to offer overnight learning indoors, and afternoon learning outdoors.

Join us for festival prayers, joyful and song-filled Hallel, and chanting of the Ten Commandments. Hear the once-a-year sacred poetry of “Akdamut.” And how can you miss the four-chapter, four-handkerchief love story of Ruth? Yizkor will be held on Day 2 to honor and bless the memory of our deceased family and friends.

Quick Links:

Tikkun Leil Shavuot

Day 1 Services and Learning Opportunities

Day 2 Services and Community Picnic


Tikkun Leil Shavuot — All Night Torah Study!

Saturday, June 4, 9:30 PM, through Sunday June 5, 7:00 AM

Location: Hebrew Tabernacle

Fueled by caffeine and cheesecake, light-headed from lack of sleep, we enter an altered state of mind and body that can open us up to new insights. New friends may also be revealed as we gather, laugh, and learn.

This year's theme: "Torah shel Chesed":

The Talmud (Sukkah 49b) encourages us to approach Torah study through chesed, loving-kindness. When we learn Torah for its own sake (lishmah) and when we learn Torah in order to gift it to others, then we are experiencing “Torah shel chesed,” the Torah of loving-kindness. This Shavuot, as we encounter revelation and receive Torah in community, our thematic lens is “Torah shel chesed." How can our learning and sharing of Torah bring about loving-kindness? How can encountering Torah for its own sake change ourselves and the world around us?

Our in-person overnight learning will begin in the Hebrew Tablernacle Upstairs Sanctuary, because the Social Hall won't be available until 11:00 PM. We'll then move to the Social Hall, which is wheelchair accessible, for the rest of the night.

Coffee, cheesecake, and more will be available in the Kitchen from 11:00 PM, and may be eaten outside the sidewalk.

Space will also be available for independent learning on one's own or with a study partner.

9:30 PM (Upstairs Sanctuary)

10:00 PM (Upstairs Sanctuary)
11:00 PM to 5:00 AM (Social Hall)

Early Shacharit Service
5:00 AM (Social Hall)

10pm - Maxine Berman, “Chesed in Galut: Lessons from Rabbis and Chickens (and one Ox!)”
The Yom Tov Musaf Amidah teaches that we were exiled from the land because of our sins. Centuries after its composition, a Hungarian Rebbe incorporated this line into an allegory of longing for a bird who seems to represent the Shechinah or perhaps Jerusalem herself. This Rebbe also taught his students the need for kindness through consideration of an ambiguously kosher chicken. We will consider a number of similar stories as a model for lifting ourselves out of exile. Maxine teaches Tanach and Toshba at the Heschel Middle School in Midtown.

11pm - Ayelet Pinnolis, “Homes and Homelessness”
What is a home? What does it mean to be without one? Do we have an obligation to ensure others have a home? How does this fit into our understanding of chesed? We will delve into texts from Megillat Ruth, rabbinic sources, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to explore these questions together. Ayelet is a paralegal working with low-income tenants to prevent evictions and advocate for their right to safe housing.

12am - Shira Botzum: “Torah and Chesed: Midrashic Readings of Megillat Ruth”
In Ruth Rabbah, Rav Zeira declares about Megillat Ruth: “This Megillah: it contains nothing of the laws of impurity or purity, nor of the forbidden or permitted. So for what purpose was it written? To teach how great the reward is for those who do acts of chesed.” We will learn through some midrashim together from Ruth Rabbah, looking for themes of chesed and what this might teach us about Shavuot and receiving the Torah. Shira is in her second year of learning for semikha at Hadar. 

1am - Rabbi Sara Zacharia, “The Torah of Chesed is Upon Her Tongue”
We’ll explore this famous proverb from “Eshet Chayil” (“A Woman of Valor”) through a mystical lens, via Hasidut and Kabbalah. How might “Torat Chesed” represent a different approach to “Torah Shel Chesed”? Rav Sara is a teacher of Torah. 

2am - Alex Hamilton, “Do Animals or People Offer More Chesed?
In this class we will take a deep dive into a few classical sources including Midrash and Talmud to ask the question: do animals or people have more chesed toward the other one? By exploring this question, we will better understand the concept of chesed as a whole. Alex is entering his final year of rabbinical school and is a certified shochet (kosher slaughterer).

3am - Rabbi Guy Austrian, “By a Name of Affection and Love: Calling People Up to the Torah”
What is the halachic basis for calling people up to the Torah by name? What do we think is happening in that encounter? We’ll look at medieval Ashkenazi sources about cases of potential embarrassment or conflict, and consider what we would do. These sources are featured in the new teshuvah on “Calling Non-Binary People to Torah Honors,” based on FTJC’s own Torah service liturgy. Rabbi Guy serves as spiritual leader of FTJC.

4am - Avi Garelick and Maddie Richer, “Singing Niggunim”
Wordless singing before dawn as we transition from study to prayer! Avi and Maddie live in Washington Heights and love singing.


Shavuot Day 1 – Morning Services
Sunday June 5, 9:00 AM
Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall

Children's programming in Classroom 1 and 2 at 10:30 AM

Featuring “Akdamut” (“Introductory Words”) — a strange and beautiful Aramaic poem that introduces the Shavuot reading of the Ten Commandments with sweeping theology and a vision of redemption.

Please note the early version of the service offered at 5:00 following the Tikkun Leil Shavuot (see above). All are welcome at either.


Shavuot Day 1 – Daytime Learning Opportunities!

Sunday June 5, 3:00-6:00 PM, Cafe Lawn, Fort Tryon Park (enter from Margaret Corbin Circle and take a right on the first path).
Learning for grownups and programming for children, all on the Cafe Lawn. Please bring blankets or folding chairs to sit on. Snacks and beverages also welcome. (In case of rain, we regretfully will be unable to gather.)

3pm - Rabbi Yosi Cirlin, “They Lifted His Eyes: Empowerment and Learning in the Beit Midrash”
Murder! Mayhem! Shame! How can a Talmudic story of violence in the Beit Midrash serve as a paradigm for treating others with love and respect? Yosi teaches middle-school Judaic Studies at the Heschel School and loves hiking with his family. 

4pm - Yitz Landes, “What is Torah?”
Through a discussion of classical rabbinic texts, we will learn more about the idea of Torah and about the place of Torah in our own lives. Yitz is a PhD candidate at Princeton University and is a big fan of Torah.

5pm - Adeena Eisen, “Sofrut: A Labor of Love”
What values and characteristics are needed for the success of a sofer/et (scribe of Torah scrolls, mezuzahs, and tefillin)? We will look at various sources to explore this question. Adeena is a soferet (scribe). She is currently writing Megillat Esther (The Book of Esther). 


Shavuot Day 2 – Morning Services, with Megillat Ruth and Yizkor
Monday June 6, 9:00 AM
Hebrew Tabernacle Social
Children's programming in Classroom 1 and 2 at 10:30 AM

Join us for Megillat Ruth, the original classic of love and loyalty — taking us from the harvest origins of Shavuot, through wrenching human relationships, to the footsteps of Messiah. We’ll also hold a Yizkor service – with psalms, readings, and the liturgy of mourning, we call to mind those who have left our world. We wrestle with the blessings and burdens of their lives and our remembering. Donations in honor of Yizkor may be made to FTJC by clicking here.

Shavuot Day 2 – Community Picnic!
Monday June 6, 12:30 PM
Location: Cafe Lawn in Fort Tryon Park (enter from Margaret Corbin Circle and take a right on the first path).
Join us after morning services. Bring your own dairy/pareve lunch, as well as a blanket and lawn/ball games.

Tue, July 5 2022 6 Tammuz 5782