Shavuot Video

Continue your Tikkun Leil Shavuot learning throughout the night with these pre-recorded lessons.

Pre-recorded lessons from The Rabbinical Assembly can be viewed here.

Rabbi Alan Freedman – Renewing the Covenant:  Eugene Borowitz was the leading Reform theologian of the late 20th century.

Eugene Borowitz’s concept of an individual sense of being commanded by Torah reflects how many Progressive Jews relate to the admonitions of Torah as well as the Oral Law.  By examining various excepts from his works, we will appreciate his insight into our relationship with Judaism and with God.

Chris Agüero – She’s got “Depatriarchal” Eyes: Shifting your gaze for a clearer understanding of the Biblical text

The lens makes all the difference.  Join us as we explore the contributions of scholarly feminist approaches to rereading Biblical narratives.  We will seek to depatriarchalize familiar stories in an effort to liberate and heal both ourselves and the figures that we’ll encounter.  Contributions from attendees are crucial to this project in partnership with the intellectual legacy of scholars Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Adriane Leveen, and Phyllis Trible.

Virginia Raymond – Resistance or Complicity? Helen Gavronsky Suzman in the South African Parliament, 1953 – 1989

Ronald Segal believed that white South African liberals, during the reign of apartheid, “read Exodus as though Pharoah’s heart had softened at the eloquence of Moses.”  Their reading, he might have added, was convenient:  dutiful, polite protest didn’t need to interfere with personal comfort, safety, or affluence.

The life and work of Helen Gavronsky Suzman, an opponent of apartheid and Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1953 to 1989, raises perennial questions.  What does it mean to take part, in the legislative or other branch of government, of a facist and racist police state?  Is it realistic to hope that through participation one might bring about some measure of justice and decency?  Or is such a person misguided, in denial, or even delusional?  Can a person fight the beast of an oppressive system from within, or must one eschew gradual reform in favor of radical attack from without?  We will consider Suzman’s choices and those of other 20th century Jewish South Africans, such as Ruth First, Joe Slovo, and Denis Goldberg.  (If you are looking for “answers,” you will be sorely disappointed.)

Gail Tosto – The First Seven Words: A Linguistic Stroll Through Breishit 1:1

As we examine the first short verse of the Torah, we’ll explore Hebrew’s place in the family of world languages, how Biblical Hebrew (and other Semitic languages) may have influenced other language families, Hebrew vocabulary that’s seeped into English, and fun facts about the different ways languages around the world convey similar information – or don’t. No knowledge of Hebrew necessary for this course.

Gail Tosto is a multilingual translator with a lifelong fascination for languages of all stripes.

Rachel Stern – “Text” Me Your Feelings: What Jewish Sources Say About Emotions

During COVID-19 we have experiences a variety of emotions ranging from fear, isolation, courage and even moments of joy. There are endless Jewish texts and guidelines helping us to explore and understand our emotions. This session will help us reflect on how we have changed in the past few months and how Judaism can help guide us through what we have been feeling.

Dr. Harvey Raben – Keeping our Heroes

In Masechet Shabbat 56 we see the Rabbis of the Talmud attempt to justify the difficult ways of our ancestors, but did they go too far? Watch our Bet Midrash student’s responding to the text.

Bobbie Nehman – Sunrise Meditation at Sinai

Find peace and solace from the gift of a new day in a sun rise meditation.  A way to celebrate the Creation and deepen our connection with our very center that is made in the image of HaShem.  It is a place of utmost ease and peace like the vast ocean deep below the active, often stormy surface waves.

Experiencing this state of calm enables us to find our “no matter what” space.   With practice, we can develop a habit that forms new connections between brain and body and creates a sense of oneness and well being to face the challenges of the day.

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