Shavuot – meaning Weeks – is the poor relation of festivals, or it was when I grew up, somewhat forgotten next to Pesach and definitely drawing less focus than our relatively modern High Holydays. But it’s the best of holidays: study, flowers, fruit, cheesecake, the Book of Ruth, the ideas of conversion and joining Judaism and figuring out what matters.
It’s not just accessible and enabling but actually celebrates that. As well as the barley harvest, we celebrate Matah Matan HaTorah – the giving of Torah. That’s interesting for us as Liberal Jews who do not rely on Torah as written by God, Torah min Hashamayim.
When Moses descended from Mount Sinai… his face was glowing…. He instructed them… and put a veil over his face. (Exodus 34:29-33)
But for certain we are inspired, challenged, provoked by the reading of Torah every week of the year and this week we get to engage more deeply.
2023 is the year we are joining with Southgate Progressive Synagogue for Shavuot. Rabbi Danny Rich and I are sharing the learning, the praying and the facilitating and will be exploring the ideas of human connectedness.
Our fate is bound up in each other (Babylonian Talmud Shevuot 39a)
This will be our programme on Thursday evening at SPS:
6.30pm Bring and Share Supper
7.00pm Shavuot service
7.45pm The Book of Ruth, Thomas Hardy and Rembrandt
8.35pm Cheesecake and Coffee
8.50-9.40pm The Torah of a New Progressive Judaism
9.40-10.20pm Jewish Attitudes to Conversion
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