About the Program
Just as our ancestors harvested grain during Shavuot, we will come together to harvest and share grains of knowledge and connection with one another.
From sunset on Saturday, June 8, through sunset on Sunday, June 9, thirteen different teachers will be presenting hour-long sessions on a wide variety of topics; from traditional text study, to Shavuot practice, to relationships with G-d.
Whether your interest is in one class, five classes, or all thirteen classes, your ticket grants you access to any and all one-hour long sessions from the comfort of your living room.
Registration is now open at the price $72 per person, which give you access to ALL classes listed below.
Betrothed With a Band of Opals: Tales from a Marriage Counselor's Case Files
Rabbi Debra Smith
Saturday, June 8 | 9 - 10 pm EDT
From her multiple perspectives as Rabbi, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Spiritual Seeker, Rabbi Debra Smith (Reb Deb) explores how the stages in her evolving relationship with The Eternal One parallel the evolving relationship of B'nei Yisrael and The Eternal One. Using excerpts from Reb Deb's personal “G-d Diaries", we will discuss the ups and downs of the journey each of us travels as we shape our unique personal relationship with G-d.
Rabbi Deb's session will also serve as our introductory blessing into the holiday--join us as Rabbi Deb leads us in an intentional welcome to Shavuot.
Hidden Textual Treasures in Birkat Hamazon
Rabbi Jeremy Sher
Saturday, June 8 | 10 - 11 pm EDT
We recite it, we skip it, we abbreviate it, we blaze through it at 90 miles an hour--but how often do we pause to read it? Our Grace After Meals is at once a treasure of textual gems, and our people's spiritual living room. Here we've wrestled with the theology of plenty and need; here we've laid bare our raw longings; here we've held fast to a belief in a provident God even though we ourselves were hungry. Come and rediscover our people's family treasures, right under our noses in Birkat Hamazon. As a bonus, receive a copy of Rabbi Jeremy's original singable English translation of the whole prayer.
Hebrew is Magic
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener
Sunday, June 9 | 9 - 10 am EDT
The Hebrew Alphabet is comprised of pictographs which have shapes, sounds, and numerical values; each letter is articulated in a specific part of the body. All of these factors contribute to essential meanings for each letter. Then the combinations of letters give rise to Hebrew words, based on three letter roots. On this Shavuot morning, we will explore a number of Hebrew words by unpacking the elegance and density of meaning of the letters themselves. We will reveal deep and interesting inner messages from the letters themselves as they form into meaningful words. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.
Coming Down from the Mountain
Rabbi Shawn Zevit
Sunday, June 9 | 10 - 11 am EDT
Exploring what Shavuot has revealed to us so far and how we can bring this awareness and experience into life. Alongside our Torah’s earth-based rhythms Shavuot invites us into, is the additional rabbinic and Kabbalistic overlays of Shavuot being a time of revelation on Sinai, of receiving Torah and of bonding with the Divine in our lives and as a people. Using a combined approach of teaching, text and open sharing, we will convene a space to reflect on and begin integrating what we have come to understand and be aware of that this Shavuot has brought our way.
Return to Who You Are
Rabbi Hannah Nathans
Sunday, June 9 | 11 am - 12 pm EDT
Revealment is one of Shavuot’s themes. Chassidic and kabbalistic texts teach us how to become the best version of ourselves. We will study a selection of textst, and meditate on how to let our radiant Divine spark enlighten ourselves and shine gloriously in the world.
Heaven and Earth Duets in the Talmud: Sounds of Longing and Connection
Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman
Sunday, June 9 | 12 - 1 pm EDT
Like the ocean waves flowing in and out of the shore, all of our relationships move through rhythms of connection and disconnection, intimacy and alienation. So too, the spiritual journey often manifests as a dance of intimacy between human beings and the Divine Mystery. Through Talmudic text study, we will learn from the Rabbis of the second century as they re-build their spiritual world (after profound destruction) and share heart-centered wisdom about healing and reconnection.
Embodied Shavuot: Planting Revelation in Holy Ground
Sunday, June 9 | 1 - 2 pm EDT
We are approaching the end of our seven-week journey of Counting the Omer that began at Passover. We’ve been guided by seven archetypes (or sephirot) of the Divine who reside in the sacred anatomy of the Kabbalah Tree of Life.
In this session we’ll revisit and integrate each of these energies through gentle movement, meditation and prayer. We’ll start at the top of your Tree of Life Body and move down through the trunk and into the roots so that we can plant liberation and revelation in the Holy Ground of our bodies and the Body of the World.
The webinar is based on Rachael’s forthcoming book on embodying the sephirot throughout the week. All ages and physical abilities are welcome. No previous movement background is needed.
Listening for the "Still, Small Voice"
Rabbi Mike Comins
Sunday, June 9 | 2 - 3 pm EDT
Does it make a difference to read Torah in the place where the events occurred? So much of the formative history of the Jewish people happened in the desert, yet classical Jewish commentators and modern Bible scholars wrote in Europe or North America. A rabbi and Israeli desert guide, Mike Comins brings his experience of walking the Sinai and Negev deserts to the interpretation of Jewish texts. Together we study and discuss the famous journey of Elijah to Horeb (another name for Mt. Sinai; I Kings, ch. 19) where he hears the “still, small voice.” When better than Shavuot to explore the second revelation on Mt. Sinai! We will discuss this moving passage in the Hebrew Bible to learn the dynamics of listening deeply for God’s presence.
Celebrating the Seven Days of Shavuot
Maggid Andrew Ramer
Sunday, June 9 | 3 - 4 pm EDT
In ancient times the major festival of the year was Sukkot. Today Passover is the most widely observed holiday. But in this time of global challenges, I invite you to consider shifting your focus away from the Us/Them story of Pesach to an expanded version of our festival of Divine Revelation. Together we will be learning to reframe our perspective and make ourselves available to receive the Torah of our time through meditation and study over the course of a week, with a different focus for each day.
Shabbat and Tikkun Olam: Reclaiming Tikkun Olam Consciousness in Our Shabbat Prayers
Sunday, June 9 | 4 - 5 pm EDT
“Let the spirit of prayer interfere in [human] affairs. Prayer should be…a process of self-clarification, of examining priorities, of elucidating responsibility.” paraphrased from AJ Heschel in "Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity"
“Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.” - Abraham Joshua Heschel, "On Prayer"
Many of us look forward to Shabbat as a time to replenish our souls and an opportunity to escape from the stresses of daily life, and to refrain from contemplating the tsuris of the world. Often spiritual leaders are told not to bring “politics” into the shul because it will create division within the community and upset people on the one day of the week they seek comfort.
In this workshop, we will focus on how to reclaim the deep truths of Tikkun Olam in our Shabbat prayers in ways that deepen our spiritual connections to ourselves, the larger community, and the Oneness of the universe. We will explore ways to weave and rediscover the calls to social justice hidden in our prayers and to experience greater spiritual consciousness, thereby giving more meaning and purpose to our weekday lives.
Through co-creating and experiencing the healing, spiritual, and transformative aspect of Tikkun Olam-oriented prayers, we hope to challenge the all-too-common belief that you can either do "Shabbat" or focus on the problems of the world, but not both.
Sinai: Where Is God?
Dr. Tamar Kamionkowski
Sunday, June 9 | 5 - 6 pm EDT
When we think about the Sinai narrative, we usually imagine God at the top of the mountain with the community of Israel at the base of the mountain, but is God really on the mountain? In this close textual reading, we will search for God at Sinai!
Rabbi T'mimah Audrey Ickovits
Sunday, June 9 | 6 - 7 pm EDT
Ezekiel’s Vision is a powerfully detailed description of Divine inner workings from Prophets. It is traditionally read on the first day of Shavuot. Find out why this is a foundational classic for classical Kabbalah and what we may learn from it. Texts will be available in Hebrew and English.
Standing Up and Speaking Truth: Personal and Communal Paths of Jewish Resistance
Rabbi Mike Rothbaum
Sunday, June 9 | 7 - 8 pm EDT
These days, many Jews find themselves on the front lines of the struggle for justice and fairness. But our current national moment is far from the first time that Jews have been stood up for their principles. Jewish resistance has taken many forms throughout history. Join us as we look at Jewish expressions of resistance, both in text and history.
For this event, we have gathered together 13 awe-inspiring teachers from all across the globe. Never before have we had the chance to learn from all of them during a 24 hour span; especially not from home! Our teachers are sure to excite, grow, and inspire you!
When is this event taking place?
Shavuot begins at sundown on Saturday, June 8, and continues until sundown on Sunday, June 9. Sundown is at 8:28 pm EDT in Philadelphia (where ALEPH is headquartered!) on Saturday, so our first session will begin at 9 pm EDT (6 pm PDT.) Two hour-long sessions will take place that evening, concluding at 11 pm EDT. We will take a brief break so that everyone can get some rest, and start back up in the morning!
In the morning of Sunday, June 9, our first of the next eleven sessions will begin at 9 am EDT (6 am PDT.) The final session will conclude at 8 pm EDT (5 pm PDT,) as sunset is at 8:29 pm in Philadelphia that evening.
Where is this event taking place?
This event is virtual! You can participate from anywhere in the world. You can even be in your pajamas (we won't tell!)
Do I need an internet connection to participate?
An internet or phone connection is required to be able to participate. We encourage having some sort of camera so that your face can be seen, but a phone will work just fine if needed.
What if I have never done video conferencing before?
That's okay! We will give you detailed instructions on how to get set up so that you will be able to fully participate in as many sessions as you wish.
How long is each class?
Each class is one hour.
What is Shavuot, anyway? Why are we staying up late to learn?
Great question! We recommended checking out this Shavuot 101 article from MyJewishLearning.com.