This week’s Parsah, Bamidbar, has a description of the twelve tribes and how their camps were structured. While each tribe had its own location where it’s members lived, they all shared in something important, being members of the Jewish people.
Saturday night begins the holiday of Shavuot, one of the three pilgrimage holidays in the Jewish calendar. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah and one of the ways Judaism celebrates that important moment is through an all-night study of Torah called a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. For many years, the Federation, the Agency for Jewish Learning and the Jewish Community Center, along with many of our area synagogues, have assembled a community wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Beginning at 10 pm at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, classes run until 1 am followed by all night learning at many local synagogues. CLICK HERE for more information on the event.
That three hour period at the JCC is like the description of the tribes in this week’s portion. Yes, all of us have our own ways of connecting to Judaism; we are all part of our own “tribes”. Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, cultural and post denominational are all labels describing affiliations in the Jewish world. Saturday night all of these and more I haven’t mentioned will join in learning from Rabbinic leaders who themselves take on many of these labels (CLICK HERE for a schedule). We all come together as one Jewish community proudly with our own feelings about how we connect Jewishly.
Join me. Typically between 300-500 people make the late night trek out to participate. It’s something special. While in New York last week for a national meeting, I mentioned this community wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot to Jewish leaders from other North American communities. They were astounded to hear what we in Pittsburgh are able to do in a true sign of achdut, “unity”.
Take a nap on Saturday afternoon and see you on Saturday night!
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.