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Blintzes for the Soul: A Shavuot Night of Learning

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot at Ner Shalom

A night of sweet, rich learning to honor Shavuot, our holiday of revelation. Come for a chunk of it or all of it. Or just for the cheesecake. Study will include text, movement, music, memory and more.

Welcome – 6:30 PM

We gather to greet each other and sing our way into our holiday of Revelation.


Session One – 6:45 PM


Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah

Led by Barbara Hirschfeld
These words are often translated as soul or spirit, but they originally were terms for the breath. This relation between soul and breathing is found in other sacred traditions as well. This connection is no accident, neither is it an accident that most meditation techniques use the breath as the "object of meditation." The breath is always with us but cannot be held onto; it nourishes our body and links us to everything else in the universe. In this session, Barbara will guide us in meditation, and explore how Buddhist meditation can be a connection to Jewish learning and practice.


Meeting Your Angel

Led by Leiah Bowden
Judaism has a rich angelology, pretty much ignored by mainstream Jewish practice and prayer. Nonetheless, the angels have not been ignoring us! Through silent meditations, guided visualizations, art play and free associative writing, we will meet our angels and record what they have to tell us, or will simply express our impressions and feelings of their presence. This workshop is based on the effective “GRACE” (Grounding, Releasing, Alighting, Conversing, and Enjoying) process as presented in the groundbreaking 1992 book, Ask Your Angels: A Practical Guide to Working with the Messengers of Heaven to Empower and Enrich Your Life by Alma Daniel, Andrew Ramer, and Timothy Wylie.

Session Two – 8:00 PM


Accessing & Celebrating Your Inner Kohen/Kohenet (Priest/ess)

Led by Shoshana Fershtman
Music: Sheridan Gold and Jeff Hoffman

Erev Shavuot is a time when we "Adorn the Bride," the Shekhinah, or Divine Feminine, as she prepares for the sacred marriage with the Kodesh Baruch Hu that our rabbis of antiquity described so vividly.

What does it mean to adorn the Shekhinah, to honor the sacred feminine? How are we called upon to do this holy work? How do we access and honor our inner priest/ess/ly calling in our lives?

Join us for a rich exploration through guided meditation, shamanic journeying, journaling, artmaking and ritual, accompanied by beautiful sacred music.


Diving Into the Wreck
Plumbing our Depths for Resilience and Joy

Led by Barbara Lesch McCaffry
"Diving Into the Wreck" is perhaps the most famous poem of Jewish lesbian feminist writer Adrienne Rich (1929-2012). This very accessible work involves us in an underwater journey in search of buried treasure. Join us as we breathe deeply, visit this beautiful text, and look at what is submerged below our own surface that might prove to be treasure.


Blintzes & Havdalah – 9:00 PM

Now that it is dark out, we move from Shabbat to Festival, which calls for a special modified havdalah ceremony, in which we bless the distinctions and connections between different kinds of holy. The blintzes are self-explanatory.


Session Three – 9:30 PM


Your True Self, Hidden & Revealed

Led by Reb Judith Goleman
According to Jewish Mysticism, each human being has inside us our true self, sparkling with sparks of holiness, Our truest self can be hidden under less conscious aspects of ourselves, family mishegas, cultural pressures. In this workshop we'll do some exercises to invite our sparks of holiness out of hiding.


Embodied Prayer: An Experiential Workshop Using Movement & Voice

Led by Diana Neshamah Faraone
After a brief exercise in guided imagery where in stillness and gentle movement we will connect the breath and the body, we will learn a circle dance of embodied prayer, and sing a song for Shavuot.


Session Four – 10:45 PM


The Jewish Goddess of Wisdom

Led by Reb Irwin Keller
The Book of Proverbs describes Wisdom – Chokhmah – as a goddess figure, present at God's side through the whole process of Creation. This personification and deification of Wisdom caught on in the Gnostic and Christians worlds. Meanwhile, the rabbis of antiquity, uncomfortable with a goddess figure, turned her into an embodiment of Torah itself. In this workshop we will look at texts from Proverbs, Apocrypha, Thomas Merton and our own Siddur to discover how this goddess figure is still present in our traditional Jewish practices.


Closing – 11:45 PM

We gather to harvest our learnings for the evening and sing ourselves out. Chag Sameach!



Do you bake? If you are up for making some dairy treats, email Leiah Bowden.


Earlier Event: May 18
Shabbat with Reb Irwin
Later Event: May 20
J School Meets