tikkun leil Shavuot
SINAI RETURNS TO SPADINA!
Saturday June 4th, 2022
Join your friends from the downtown Toronto Jewish community as we gather to learn and to bring in the holiday together, in person! There's something for everyone at this year's Tikkun Leil Shavuot - a night of community, study, snacking and more.
Please note: advance registration is required, but registration does not guarantee entry. Please be sure to be on time, as session participation will be based on capacity limitations. Covid protocols will be in effect. All sessions will take place in outdoor spaces in and around the Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina (at Bloor); location specifics will be shared with those who register. In the event of rain, the event will move indoors.
For questions or accessibility needs please email: LaurenS@mnjcc.org
In partnership with: Annex Shul > Beth Tzedec Congregation > City Shul > Congregation Shir Libeynu > Danforth Jewish Circle > First Narayever Congregation > Holy Blossom Temple > The Kiever Shul > Makom Creative Downtown Judaism > Shoresh > UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Join us for some pre-study snacks and coffee, while you catch up with friends old and new. We’ve missed you!
Join Congregation Shir Libeynu for our annual PRIDE Havdallah ceremony to kick-off Tikkun L’Eil Shavuot. Cantor Wunch and members of our congregation will lead us through Havdallah, celebrating the start of PRIDE month. The service will feature a D’var Torah delivered by our beloved Rabbi Emerita Aviva Goldberg.
About Shir Libeynu
Proud to be TO’s longest-running, intentionally LGBTQ+-inclusive synagogue. We welcome everyone!
SCHEDULE & SESSIONS
Finding the Aleph: A Meditative Exploration + Walk
The Hasidic Rebbe, the Zera Kodesh (Naftali Tzvi Ropshitzer of Ropcyze 1760-1827) teaches that the people of Israel only heard God speak the silent letter aleph of "Anochi", the first word of the first of the Ten Commandments, during the revelation at Mount Sinai. After a quick look at this incredible teaching, we'll go for a short outdoor exploration to experience what the silences and the voices of Toronto reveal to us. The session will include some strolling, some singing, some time for meditative reflection and some face-to-face discussion, on the theme of connecting with the Divine.
About Aaron Rotenberg
Aaron Rotenberg, among his many leadership endeavours, is the spiritual leader of Annex Shul community and a rabbinical student at ALEPH. He spends his summers as the Educational Manager of Heart to Heart, a society-building summer camp program for Jewish and Palestinian teens.
Texts of Inspiration for Moving Out of Isolation
Texts of Inspiration for Moving Out of Isolation
Rabbinic literature has plenty to say about the beauty of community. But what about rejoining a community after being apart for so long? Have we changed and has the community changed with us? Do we just "start again” or do we need to reinvent, reimagine and recreate? Texts will be shared in both Hebrew and English.
About Rabbi Elyse Goldstein
Rabbi Elyse Goldstein is the visionary spiritual leader of The City Shul. Rabbi Goldstein is known throughout Canada as an outstanding educator. She founded Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning in 1991; she was its director and principal teacher for 20 years. Kolel was recognized worldwide as a leading institution in the field of Jewish adult education. In 2005 she was awarded North America’s highest honour for Jewish Education, The Covenant Award For Outstanding Educators.
Picturing the Torah in the Middle Ages
Picturing the Torah in the Middle Ages
Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah. What did that event look like? How should the Torah itself be depicted? The Middle Ages saw the first widespread decoration of Hebrew books, and artists confronted these questions for the first time. We will explore some of the choices they made for representing the Torah and illustrating Shavuot texts themselves.
About Dr. Adam Cohen
Dr. Adam Cohen, a specialist in medieval art, teaches in the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto, where he also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. Adam is the author of Signs and Wonders: 100 Haggada Masterpieces and is the president of the historic Kiever Shul in Kensington Market.
SESSION 1 • 8:15 - 9 PM
Wisdom from the Trees
"She (the Torah) is a Tree of Life to those who hold tight to her" (Proverbs 3:17)
"If you have a sapling in your hand and are told that the Messiah has come, first plant the sapling, then go out to greet the Messiah." (Midrash Avot Derabbi Natan 8,31)
Today, old-growth trees are endangered due to human actions, in our city, across Turtle Island, and around the world. This destroys some of the oldest living beings on the planet and exacerbates the climate crisis. What does Jewish tradition have to say about holding tight to ancient trees, collaborating to protect old-growth forests and sources of life? What lessons can we learn about caring for old and new trees? How can we incorporate these practices into other areas of our lives, work, faith, and activism? Drawing on ancient Jewish texts, contemporary climate activism, and the trees themselves, we will study some of the wisdom that the forest can provide us for this moment.
About Ellis Goldstein
Ellis Goldstein is the Lead Educator of youth and family programs at Shoresh, where they coordinate and lead programs at the Shoresh Outdoor School and Camp Shoresh. When they're not exploring the forests and ravines of Toronto with young people, they are also involved with other Jewish community groups as an organizer with Eshel and Dayenu Toronto.
Ruth: A Stranger in my Land
In this session, we will study a poem about Ruth by modern Israeli poet Nava Semel, which explores Naomi's reluctance to have her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth accompany her back to the Land of Israel. The poem opens up a challenging conversation about xenophobia and the place of "strangers" and "others" in Jewish society.
About Rabbi Ed Elkin
Rabbi Ed Elkin has been the spiritual leader of the First Narayever Congregation since the year 2000.
How We Return – Sharing Loss and Offering Comfort
Mishnah Middot (codified approx. 200 CE) describes a striking image of Jews circling the ancient Temple in 2 directions – those who move to the left share a loss that has happened to them. Those who circle to the right, listen and offer comfort. As we make our way back to more and more community life in person, and as we continue to move in the uncertainty that Covid presents, we have a valuable opportunity to meet this transition with spiritual wisdom and conscious connection. This session will weave together meditation practice, text learning and simple movement to develop inner tools and communal rituals to strengthen our capacity to both recognize loss and to meet it generously with comfort. No meditation experience is necessary.
About Rabbi Miriam Margles
Miriam Margles is an artist, educator and activist and has served as the rabbi of the Danforth Jewish Circle in Toronto since 2010.
Traditional, Soulful Maariv/Evening Service with Rabbi Aaron Levy
At nightfall, let’s bring in Shavuot formally with soulful chanting of niggunim (wordless melodies) and maariv (the evening service). Maariv will follow the full traditional liturgy in Ashkenazi style. We’ll have mens’, womens’, and all genders’ seating sections, with low curtains between them. After services, we’ll make kiddush – including the abridged havdalah for transitioning from Shabbat to Shavuot – and provide pita so we can say ha-motzi and birkat ha-mazon, fulfilling the mitzvah of eating a meal Shavuot night.
Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism is an inclusive community fusing Jewish tradition and progressive values through spirituality, learning and culture. Makom inspires diverse participants to explore together how Judaism can meaningfully enrich our lives.
MA'ARIV EVENING SERVICE
SESSION 3 • 10:45 - 11:30 PM
When's Shavuot? Adventures in the Jewish Multiverse!
Is tonight actually Shavuot? How do we know? And if we lived in multiple, alternate Jewish universes, when would it be in each of them? We'll explore texts and their interpretive possibilities, as well as the calendars of a diversity of Jewish communities, ancient and modern. No prior Jewish study is needed; all sources are presented in Hebrew and English.
About Rabbi Aaron Levy
Rabbi Aaron Levy is a leader in the revival of downtown Jewish life in Toronto, where he is the founder and spiritual leader of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism, a diverse and inclusive community fusing Jewish tradition and progressive values through spirituality, learning, and culture since 2009. As a descendant of both Sephardic and Ashkenazic immigrants to Turtle Island or North America, Rabbi Aaron personally embodies Jewish multiculturalism and he warmly welcomes diverse Jews and non-Jews to explore their own paths in Jewish life and community. Ordained in 2004 in the first graduating class of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah: The Open Orthodox Rabbinical School, he is also an avid drummer, cyclist, hiker, and vegan.
In a world punctuated by pandemic, we echo the repeated question of the Psalmist. Turns out, God asks it too.
Together we will tease out what prompts the question and consider where to look for an answer.
About Rabbi Yael Splansky
Yael Splansky is the Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto's first synagogue. She currently serves as the President of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and is a fourth-generation Reform Rabbi.
Lost and Found: Narratives that Inform our Response to the Crisis in Ukraine
Join us as we explore how our Torah and our rabbis, both contemporary and historic, imagined the event of receiving Torah at Sinai, and what the circumstances of this receiving have to teach us about our obligation to take care of our neighbours and seek justice for refugees
About Lara Rodin and Yacov Fruchter
Lara Rodin is an educator, student, and seeker whose mission is to empower Jews to use the texts and rituals we have inherited to explore our relationship with the divine, our communities, and ourselves. She was Beth Tezedec's 2021 Tanenbaum Fellow, and is the Program Director of Masa BaTeva: Outdoor Adventure at Camp Ramah in Canada. She is completing rabbinical school at JTS.
Yacov Fruchter is a spiritual leader at Beth Tzedec Congregation and is a registered psychotherapist. He is a proud downtowner, Montrealer and father of 3. He is the grandchild of four refugees from Romania and Ukraine, and is the lead staff for Beth Tzedec's refugee sponsorships.
SESSION 2 • 9:30 - 10:15 PM