Spring 2018

Shavuot Resources

Click here to download the full issue.
Click on any title to download the article.
Click here to download a list of Shavuot Resources.

Articles

The Revelation at Sinai in Bible and Midrash | Everett Fox
While Shavuot celebrates one of the most important steps on the Jewish journey, the Sinai event is portrayed in different ways depending on the source.  In this article, Everett Fox looks at the passages on the revelation at Mount Sinai in Bible and Midrash.

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 Naomi’s Silence | Dr. Jen Glaser
Through a philosophical exploration of text, the author explores how different forms of silence might affect our reading of the narrative.  It also suggests looking at how different artists have interpreted this moment.

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Edible Judaism: Shavuot | Rabbi Bill Kaplan

Flora and nature imagery permeate the Torah with over 100 plants mentioned by name.  The flora of Jewish tradition provides rich metaphors, allegories, symbols, and parables, which can prompt Jewish learning for a wide range of audiences and settings.
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Workshop on the Personal Power of Transformation through the Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha-Omer | Helene Kates

Through the lens of story, song, Torah Interplay, creative writing, movement, and refection, the author opens the doors leading us out of our Mitzrayim (our personal limitations) and into the space of becoming who we are meant to be through the guidance of Torah. The actions provide a road map to experience the power of self- transformation in our lives.
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NOT Rock-Paper-Scissors, It’s Sinai-Paper-NO Scissors | Nancy Katz
The rabbis tell us that in every generation each person should consider themselves as having personally received the Torah on Mount Sinai. What does that mean? What does it look like? Using Jerusalem-based artist/educator Jo Milgrom’s method of “hand-made midrash,” this notion and relevant text is explored through art.

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Jewish Spiritual Education: Preparing Ourselves and Our Students for the Inevitable Experiences of Inner Darkness | Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram

On Sinai, Moses received the Torah “ba-choshech” – in darkness. In Judaism, darkness is a powerful, spiritually helpful metaphor, found in stories, prayers and midrashim that transform darkness into a hopeful, happening place. This article will point you to some of how these treasures can be found and developed for and within our students.
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Standing at Sinai: Creating Shavuot Experiences for Families | Lynnie Mirvis and Paul Solyn
This article explores the “Standing at Sinai” experience through storytelling, movement, and experiential learning, focusing on an early evening Tikkun Leil Shavuot for families with children.

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Book of Ruth – Is it a Feminist Work? | Rabbi JoHanna Potts
Traditional feminist literary criticism is focused on patriarchy and exclusion from power. This article suggests ways and provides materials that will allow you to conduct a discussion about whether the Book of Ruth is a feminist work.

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Why I Don’t Close School on Yontif | Amy Ripps
It is generally the case that a Jewish holiday on the calendar means that the afternoon religious school/program will be closed.  This made sense when many Jews didn’t work and did celebrate at home and in shul. Now, remaining open will allow us to help students live their Judaism.

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Peah in Modern Times: How Do I Refrain from Reaping the Corners of My Field When I Don’t Have One?” | Melissa Rogoway
The custom of Peah, not reaping the corners of our fields, is connected to Shavuot and the story of Ruth. We are commanded to leave these for the poor. Not many of us have fields of wheat anymore. Where, then, are the opportunities for us to observe this custom?

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Water, Wind, Sun, and Fun: The “Nature” of Being Jewish – Using the FLEX Learning Model to Celebrate Shavuot | Deborah Sarna
This article explores an innovative family education approach to engage family members through dynamic experiential learning.  Learning modality oriented activities combine with science, literature, and the arts to explore Jewish topics that will interest family members of all ages and capabilities, and will ignite a spark that will help them connect with, and relate to, their Judaism in ways never before realized.
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Shavuot: From First Fruits to All-Night Study Groups Full of Otherwise-Lactose-Intolerant Jews…Eating Dairy | Cathy Schechter
Sources for the evolution of Shavuot from an agricultural celebration to Torah indicate that the ancient agricultural rituals were designed to re-enact the covenantal love story between God and the Jewish people. Selected sources for study show the many aspects that perplexed sages for centuries about the true essence of Shavuot.

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The “Upper Trope” of the Ten Commandments | Cantor Neil Schwartz, David Schwartz
How do thirteen Torah verses of normal lengths get divided into Ten Commandments of uneven lengths?  With the “Ta’amei Elyon,” the “Upper Trope” that are the second set of Trope on these verses!  This article introduces this “extra” Trope symbols that provide such a beautiful chant for this special passage and shows how they portray a system of punctuation that is much more detailed than that of English.

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Shavuot | Rabbi Paul Steinberg
The author gives the background of the holiday and details its customs.  He also provides suggested text and study questions.

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Tikkun Leil Shavuot – What is it and Where Did it Come from? | Tamar Zaken
“Tikkun Leil Shavuot,” the night-long tradition of studying Torah on Shavuot, is common amongst Jews of all ethnic backgrounds. The article looks back to the original order of the traditional tikkun that was determined 400 years ago in the Zohar, explores the preliminary prayer we say before we begin learning, and references commentaries from Rabbi Yosef Chaim and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

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Hands, Heart, Minds, and Souls: An All School Shavuot Program | Rabbi Rain Zohav
Moving through a choice of stations, students are engaged in experiencing the idea of “Matan Torah,” as well as experiencing Shavuot as one of the pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel. Stations include experiences with hands-on tzedakah projects, age-appropriate art projects, in-depth discussion, text study focused on the Ten Commandments, stories, customs from around the world, and more.

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