B’nai Jeshurun Congregation building

B’nai Jeshurun Congregation

B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike will host its Community-Wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot from Thursday evening, May 25, to Friday morning, May 26.

The in-person event is presented by the congregation and the Estelle & Dr. Milton Rosenberg Tikkun Leil Study Session Fund. The committee behind the weekend is comprised of Harriet Rosenberg Mann, Richard Berkowitz, Shani Kadis, Senior Rabbi Hal Rudin-Luria and Rabbi Josh Foster. Beth El Congregation in Akron and Temple Israel in Canton are two of the co-sponsors for the weekend.

“We keep expanding, more people are coming together to study, connect and learn,” Rudin-Luria told the Akron Jewish News of the event. “Rabbis say that there are 70 faces to the Torah, and that there isn’t one specific way to understand, learn or express Torah. The best time to showcase that is on Shavuot as we celebrate the anniversary of receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai.”

Divided into nine sessions over the course of 12 hours, topics range from “A ‘Free’ Press – Today’s News Landscape” with Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO of the Akron Jewish News, Cleveland Jewish News and Columbus Jewish News; “Rabbinic & Talmudic Lessons from the Animal Kingdom” featuring Cantor Aaron Shifman; “Embodied Torah: Receiving the Wisdom of our Bodies” with Yoshi Silverstein, executive director of Mitsui Collective; “A Jewish Understanding of Christian Pentecost” with Rabbi David Komerofsky of Temple Israel in Canton; “Exploring Revelation in Exodus” with Rabbi Michael Ross of Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson; and “Rabbi Sacks’ 7 Principles of Leadership” with Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, executive director of The Rabbi Sacks Legacy.

When asked about the importance of collaborating across communities, denominations and modalities, Rudin-Luria explained coming together, no matter who you are, is a central theme in Shavuot.

“We all stood at Mount Sinai together,” he said. “In some essence, each one of us today were also there then. We stood together. It had nothing to do with labels, identification or distinction, we were there as one people. That is why, particularly on Shavuot, it has been a driving force for us to bring the community together and to reenact that experience at Sinai.”

Some sessions also include yoga, or outdoor, visual art and literature components. Other parts of the festivities are a breakfast bar, a Kabbalistic mystical wedding and a sunrise Shacharit festival service. Attendees are welcome to stay the whole night, or pick and choose sessions, which is something Rudin-Luria said is integral to meeting Jews were they are in their lives.

“We continue to push the limits of expression and ways to learn Torah, and not just in a lecture setting,” he said. “We hold true to the fact that when we talk about Torah, it’s not just opening it up and reading the portion. For us, it’s more expansive. It’s the core concepts of who we are and what will make us better, and that is shown through all the different offerings all night long.”

As for what he might be most excited for, Rudin-Luria said it’s as impossible to narrow it down.

“I wish I could go to all of them,” he said. “Some sessions have six or seven classes going at once, and even for myself, it’s really hard to choose which one to go to. We have incredible teachers and very interesting topics that have caught my eye. If anyone wants to stay up all night with us, you can. But, you can also come to one, two or three classes. Just find a class, a speaker or a presenter that resonates with you and just come. It’s going to be a great night.”