Resources and Opportunities for Celebrating Shavuot with Your Community

May 14, 2020the URJ and Reform Movement partners

Shavuot offers us the opportunity to celebrate the Torah and its teachings, and to be inspired by the wisdom Jewish tradition has to offer.

This year, the Reform Movement has come together to create a variety of digital experiences – including discussion, music, prayer, and poetry – designed to resonate with all types of Torah learners and to help you observe Shavuot from home or with your congregation in ways that are thoughtful, meaningful, and spiritually engaging.

1. Come together with the Reform Movement for Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

Join us on Thursday, May 28, for an evening of online learning, music, prayer, and poetry. Together, we will delve into the beauty, complexity, and joy of Torah. Attend one, two, three, or all four hours:

  • “A Shavuot Conversation”
    8:00-9:00pm ET, hosted by HUC-JIR
    Join HUC-JIR professors for a Shavuot conversation on individual responsibility and obligation in modern Jewish thought featuring Rabbi Rachel Adler, Ph.D. (Rabbi David Ellenson Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Professor of Modern Jewish Thought) and Rabbi Joseph Skloot, Ph.D. (Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual History).
  • “Preparing to Ascend: Poetry on the Themes of Shavuot”
    9:00-10:00pm ET, hosted by the CCAR
    Join CCAR Chief Executive Rabbi Hara Person and acclaimed poets Jessica Greenbaum and Judy Katz as they take a poetic journey up the mountain, reading and discussing poems that share themes with Shavuot. Both poets are nationally known and have poems in The Torah: A Women's CommentaryMishkan HaNefesh, and other CCAR publications.
  • “Ahavat Olam: Love, Torah, and Great Music"
    10:00-11:00pm ET, hosted by the ACC
    All you need is love! Ahavat Olam, sung in the evening service, praises God for having shared the Torah with us – a gift that can be seen as God's greatest expression of love.  Together with Cantor David Berger of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, IL (scholar-in-residence for the ACC), we'll dig into classical rabbinic sources, contemporary reflections, and sample pieces of the amazing music that bring this love song to life.
  • “A Discussion about Personal Jewish Stories”
    11:00pm-12:00am ET, hosted by the URJ
    Hearing the stories of others allows us to imagine how our own lives can and might change. Join Rabbi Leora Kaye, URJ director of program, and Rabbi Esther Lederman, URJ director of congregational innovation, for a conversation on personal Jewish stories. We'll hear from others in the Reform Movement about their Jewish journeys, challenges, and adventures, ultimately reminding us that Judaism is as much about where you have been as it is about where you can still go.

These sessions will be available to watch on-demand at the end of each broadcast.

2. Delve into the Ten Commandments.

Six authors from the new book Inscribed: Encounters with the Ten Commandments, edited by Rabbi Oren J. Hayon and published by CCAR Press, have created short video teachings for online Shavuot learning based on their chapters in the book:

  • “The Ten Commandments and Shavuot” by Rabbi Oren J. Hayon 
  • “First Commandment: God's Identity: Perspectives from Jewish Philosophy” by Rabbi Kari Hofmaister Tuling 
  • “Fourth Commandment: Shabbat, Rest, and Social Justice” by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz 
  • “Eighth Commandment: ‘You Shall Not Steal' – Ethics of Consumption” by Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster 
  • “Ninth Commandment: Don't Be That Person” by Rabbi Michael Marmur 
  • “Tenth Commandment: Torah's Thought Crime?” by Rabbi Barry H. Block 

A free downloadable study guide is also available as a learning tool for you to share with your community.

3. Join the Nationwide Canadian Reform Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

The Canadian Council for Reform Judaism (CCRJ) and the Reform Rabbis of Canada (RROC) invite you to join with many of Canada’s leading Reform Rabbis, Cantors and Educators for a national night of learning, song, movement, meditation and meaning – all online. Join us on the evening of Thursday, May 28, and the early morning of Friday, May 29, from 7:30pm – 2:00am ET. 

Over six hours, a variety of 45-minute sessions will offer inspirational learning, interspersed with 15-minute mini-sessions of music and fun activities, all designed to get you in the spirit of Shavuot – the time of the giving of Torah. Check out the full schedule, and plan to join for a session or even the whole series

4. Focus on social justice.

Join the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, The Shalom Center, and Dayenu on May 28 at 8:00pm ET for “From Shavuot to Sukkot: Green and Grow the Vote.”

 Be a part of an activist conversation drawing on Torah and our Jewish values as we connect ancient wisdom from Sinai to our own generation’s needs for dynamic engagement in the U.S. election process to heal our wounded Earth from the climate crisis. 

5. Listen to our special Shavuot podcast episode.

Tune in to a special holiday episode of our weekly podcast On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah. In “Reading Ruth: Then and Now,” URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs talks about various Ruths throughout history, from the biblical Ruth to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Episodes are available each Monday, so subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever you typically listen.

6. Enjoy some music.

Watch: “Celebrating Sinai: Songs of Ruth, Torah and First Fruits,” a diverse selection of music from members of the ACC.

7. Enjoy a teaching with Rabbi Nancy Flam​

Watch: "Wakefulness & Receptivity: Cultivating a Mind Ready for Revelation", with Rabbi Nancy Flam, Founding Faculty of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS), presented by the URJ and IJS.


8. Subscribe to weekly Torah commentary.

Sign up to receive the Reform Voices of Torah, part of our Ten Minutes of Torah email series, with original Torah commentary delivered to your inbox every Monday morning. Additionally, you can also request to send this newsletter to your members, cobranded with your congregation’s logo.

Have something to say about this post? Join the conversation in The Tent, the communications and collaboration platform for congregational leaders of the Reform Movement. You can also tweet us or tell us how you feel on Facebook.

Related Posts