2023 Shavuot

Sitting at the Foot of the Mountain

Register here

Shavuot commemorates the moment Moses comes down Mt.Sinai with the 10 commandments, and to celebrate, we busy our minds with Torah study as a community.

5:30 – 6:00 pm:

Shavuot Yizkor Memory Circle (In person only)Join a special yizkor service for the Shavuot holiday and remember loved ones in community. Led by Rabbi Copeland.

6:00 – 7:00 pm:

Families with kids! (In person)
PJ Library books, Drag Storytime and Butter making! Make your own Ten Commandment tablets!

7:00 – 10:00 pm:

Learning with our clergy and lay teachers! (Hybrid: In person and on Zoom)Fabulous foods including, but not limited to, Pavlova, Siete Cielos Challah and Phyllo Custard Cake!

7:00-7:15pm     Opening Ourselves to Torah with Rabbi Mychal Copeland



Revelations Revealed: Ancient and Modern Sources with Rabbi Yoel Kahn (Hybrid)
Tradition teaches that “Matan Torah” – the giving of the Torah took place on the evening of Shavuot. In modern Judaism, we speak of “the Revelation at Sinai.” But what was revealed? Is what was (and is) “heard” equivalent to what was (and is) “spoken”? We will read Midrash, commentary and modern poetry about revelation.
Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth El in Berkeley. A SZ member, he was the rabbi of our congregation from 1985-1996.

The Creation of Family Via Alternative Reproduction in Torah with Ora Prochovnick (Oneg room)
As queers, we have long been creative in how we create, form, and define our families. This includes utilizing a variety of assisted reproduction approaches, as well as adoption and foster care and alternative parenting models. In this session we will study early examples of and role modeling for these approaches to parenting and family formation as found in Torah.

Everyday Repentance: An Accounting of the Soul with Britta Gilmore Pomrantz (Zoom only)
A recent commentary on teshuvah – “repentance” – has suggested that repentance has the power to return us “to the person we know we are capable of becoming.” This workshop, inspired by my own experience with both twelve-step recovery and Jewish tradition. explores what repentance might look like as a daily spiritual practice.

8:20-9:10 pm

Torah as a Blueprint of the Universe in Proverbs and Kabbalah with Rabbi Mychal Copeland (Hybrid)
The universe was created with Wisdom-the potentiality of all creation. Ishtar, Astarte, Great Goddess, Maat-Who is this Woman Wisdom in Proverbs 8? We will explore the divine emanation Chochmah (wisdom), Torah writ-large, and the multiple genders of this spiritual entity.

Coming Out of the Closet of Moab with Robin Cohn (Oneg room)
A writing workshop to explore creative conversions by retelling the story of Ruth in our own words. This session will ask you to physically write.

Reading and Writing the Psalms with Howard Steiermann (Zoom only)
Howard writes poetry based on the Psalms and will introduce you to a unique way of entering into these texts. This session will ask you to physically write.

9:15-10:00 pm

Mysticism in the New Millenium: Queer Kabbalah in Tony’ Kushner’s Angels in America with Morey Lipsett (Hybrid)
We will look at how playwright Tony Kushner draws on an subverts the traditions of Jewish Mysticism in his 1994 play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Whole Torah with Franco Martinez (Oneg room)
We’ll be discussing Alexandra Rose Kohanski’s teshuva, “Be Whole: A Halakhic Approach to Gender & Transition,” as an invitation to study and find Torah written, spoken, and in ourselves.

The Old shall Dream Dreams and the Youth shall See Visions with Kay Magilavy (Zoom only)
The advantage of a tradition of cyclical Torah readings is, whether you visualize the process as a circle or a spiral, we have either just reached Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) or we are traveling toward it. The three regalim (pilgrimage festivals) are stops along the way. At Pesach, we have survived the hardship of winter and scarcity to gather in the brave, tender barley and other produce of early Spring. By Shavuout, the wheat is ready and we have grown strong enough to heft the responsibility of carrying Torah. By Sukkot, we have harvested both crops and wisdom to enable us to take ourselves and our communities back into winter. In this session, we will look at visions in Torah of harmony on Earth and then collectively contribute to a poetic vision reflective of our unique gathering and the communities we embrace.

Handouts and materials for the non-zoomed sessions will be available upon request, please email Kerasa with the titles of the sessions you’d like materials for.

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