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Shavuot @ Adas Israel

Saturday Night, June 8 - Monday, June 10

You stood at the foot of the mountain. Your grandparents and great-grandparents before them. The souls of all Jews, from all times, came together to hear the resounding proclamation of the Ten Commandments! This year at Adas we come together on Shavuot, the holiday where we commemorate the giving of the Torah, to learn, give, commit, countdown, have faith, and eat.



Featured Holiday Highlights

Torah-Slam and Break-Out Shavuot Learning Sessions
Erev Shavuot, Saturday, June 8, Beginning at 7:30pm

Join our all-star clergy team: Rabbis Holtzblatt, Alexander, Krinsky, Solomon, & Yolkut for a Torah-Slam like you’ve never experienced! Each Rabbi will present a short, thought-provoking interpretation based on this year's theme, inspired by the Book of Ruth: “For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.“ (Ruth, 1:16). Followed by one-on-one and group Break-Out Text-Learning Sessions.

Billy Liss-Levinson
"Will There Be Light?": The Creation Story as a Blueprint for Humanity"

Using the text and midrashic and other sources, we'll explore how the Creation Story can be seen as a blueprint for the ethical and moral challenges God has presented to humanity.

Rabbi Jan Kaufman
What Really Happened at Sinai - Did Cecil B. DeMille get it right?

A close examination of midrashim about what happened at ma'amad har Sinai, the theophany at Mt. Sinai.

Rabbi Sarah Krinsky (Session geared towards teens)
What Happens When The Torah Catches Fire, and How Sacred Are Our Sacred Objects? 

“The Late Lounge” A Shavuot Late Night Experience at Adas
Erev Shavuot, Saturday, June 8 @ 9:30pm

Spend the late hours of Erev Shavuot (Saturday, June 8) with the moon, the stars and the Torah. Journey to our re-imagined desert oasis (in the transformed Kay Hall); enjoy freshly roasted coffee, mint tea and sweets from around the world; drink Shavuot Shooters and coffee-themed cocktails; lounge under our tents to the tune of smooth desert beats, niggunim, and soulful words of Torah.

Shavuot Nature Hike for Families with Young Children
Sunday, June 9 @ 11:00am

Each year, on the holiday of the Shavuot, the Jewish calendar gives us the opportunity to ritualize and reenact the sacred obligation of receiving the Torah. Prepare to reimagine Mount Sinai, together with other Families with Young Children, on a spiritual nature hike (weather permitting) on the first day of Shavuot. The hike will be small child friendly, but not stroller friendly. All are invited to join the congregational kiddush when we return.


Full Shavuot Schedule at Adas

Erev Shavuot, Saturday, June 8

6:00pm Childrens Shavuot Program for ages 4 and up
7:30pm 5 Rabbis, 5 Journeys, 5 Dreams Join Rabbis Holtzblatt, Alexander, Krinsky, Solomon, & Yolkut as each of them presents a short, thought-provoking interpretation of our theme. A Torah-Slam like you’ve never experienced!
9:00pm Special Yom Tov Ma’ariv led by Cantor Arianne Brown
9:15pm Kiddush and Motzi
9:30pm Break-Out Text-Learning Sessions (TBD — We’ll offer two great option for more study, including one specifically designed for teens.)
9:30pm Late Lounge Experience in Kay Hall opens (Food!!)
10:30pm Something New! Join Rabbis Alexander and Holtzblatt for lots of singing and a Communal Moment of (Spontaneous) Blessings - We need them!

Shavuot Day 1, Sunday, June 9

9:15am Combined Charles E. Smith Sanctuary & Traditional Egalitarian Minyan Service
11:00am Shavuot Nature Hike for Families with Young Children 
6:00pm Mincha/ Maariv/ Kabbalat Chag

Shavuot Day 2, Monday, June 10

9:15am All invited to the service in the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary Service
11:00am Yizkor
1:00pm Mincha

Sefirat HaOmer

Beginning on the second night of Passover we begin to count 49 days, 7 weeks until we reach the wheat harvest and Revelation at Mount Sinai on Shavuot. We call this time the Sefirat HaOmer or “Counting of the Omer.” The Omer is counted each night after the sun goes down- if one forgets, you can say the blessing all day until nightfall the next evening.


Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with 
His commandments, and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.

We will be physically counting the omer in the lobby @Adas during evening Minyan. If you pass by you will see a jar with a stalk of wheat added each day in recognition of this waiting period. Stop for a moment, count, meditate, breathe- Take a moment to think about what you are longing for in this season.

A Reflection on Sefirat HaOmer by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt:

There is a different space of the journey of everyday, of marking time not through major accomplishments or milestones, but through the sun rising and setting of marking the passage of time, of hammering at something slowly, patiently over a contemplative period of time.  This is the Omer. 

We begin counting the Omer on the second night of Passover and we count every night until we get to 49 and arrive at the holiday of Shavuot- matan Torah (the giving of the Torah).  In ancient times the counting was a marking of the agricultural calendar- one would plant their wheat at Pesach and harvest it 7 weeks later.  Shavuot is one of the shelosh regalim, one of the 3 times of year people would make pilgrimage to the Temple (the others being Sukkot and Passover). On Shavuot first fruits were brought to the Temple as a way of giving thanks for the abundance that God had provided. 

We have become disconnected with the counting of the Omer because we are urban- we do not rely on the small plantings we make in our city gardens to eat, we do not watch an entire harvest spring from the ground and we do not have a Temple where we can offer our first fruits.

So the ritual of counting the Omer needs a reset.  A way of connection in the modern world to link the time between our liberation (Passover) to  our revelation and receiving of Torah (Shavuot).  The most remarkable days are those of the quiet rhythm of our lives.  Waking up without the rush- the steady movement forward- gentle and calm.  The time to dig our hands into our relationships, our work- the planting.  The time for reflection, noticing, and being- awaiting the harvest.  And finally the joy of our first fruits- which we can only gather after we have had the discipline of sowing, planting, and waiting.  Something will always emerge out of the ground. 

There is a reason we don’t recite shehecheyanueach night of the counting of the Omer. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak, the Kedushat Levi writes, “during the counting of the Omer, people are in anticipation of when the counting will be completed. They want the completion to arrive soon so they can experience closeness to the divine. Were they to have the capacity to complete the counting in an instant and be immediately able to enter into the closeness, how good and how pleasant it would be. This is why we do not recite shehecheyanu upon counting the Omer.”

The shehecheyanu would imply that we have arrived to a particular moment.  But this time is about the steady, continuous journey, not the arrival.  We’ll know when we have arrived and we’ll be ready then to offer our first fruits.  This year we will again mark the Omer at Adas with a display in the Quebec street entrance where we will add a jar and a wheat stalk every day.  With each jar we get closer.  Let’s use this time to linger, to notice, to plant, and to allow the Torah of our deepest selves to emerge.  I look forward to seeing you at Sinai. 

Sat, September 21 2019 21 Elul 5779