From a mountain made of meringue to the greatest of all Jewish heretics: Shavuot, something for everyone.
Last Shabbat was glorious. We honoured Jerusalem with a Friday visit from the Masorti Shlicha, Avigail Shapira, a Shabbat sermon from Israel’s Ambassador, Daniel Taub, and a tremendous concert and feast on the Sunday at the Cheder. There was a vibrancy and sense of joy and excitement that I enjoyed hugely, kvelled even. To everyone who supported or even attended events last week, thank you
Now for Shavuot. The journey which begins with leaving slavery reaches its culmination in the celebration of Matan Torah – the gift of Torah. If the release of energy commemorated on Passover is a teenage version of liberation, Shavuot marks the moment we, as a people, grow up. Indeed that is a theme of one of our Tikkun Leyl presentations from President of the Oxford Centre for Jewish Studies, Dr David Ariel. Angela Gluck will be looking at the Book of Ruth and Rabbinic Student Leah Jordan will be teaching on the tale of the greatest of all Rabbinic heretics, Elisha Ben Abuya. In the depths of the night I will be sharing a tale of the greatest Rabbinic codifier, Joseph Caro, composer of the Shulhan Arukh who recorded his midnight encounters with an angel. Shavuot is a time to delight in the richness of our tradition. The overnight learning will be tremendously rich this year. All welcome from 10pm.
Services on Sunday will feature the Ten Commandments and, for our kids, we offer a panoply of fun activities including meringue Mounts Sinai. With Shavuot falling over the weekend I hope that many members will take the opportunity to dip their feet into one of the less obvious of our Festivals. Perhaps precisely because it is less obvious, there is more subtlety and even, dare it be said, more richness of texture on offer.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,