Covenant Circle

Tikkun Leil Shavuot at Ner Tamid on Tuesday, May 30 at 7:30 pm

On Tuesday evening, May 30, Temple Ner Tamid will host this year's Tikkun for Erev Shavuot. For more than twenty years, the four synagogues of our immediate area -- B'nai Keshet and Shomrei Emunah (Montclair), Temple Sholom of West Essex (Cedar Grove), and Temple Ner Tamid (Bloomfield) -- gather together for an evening of study, meditation and song. This year's visiting scholar is Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion.

The evening begins with Erev Shavuot worship at 7:30 p.m., immediately followed by a dairy-based nosh and social period. Dr. Panken will offer his keynote address at 9 p.m.: "How True is True? True Lies, Alternative Truths and the Value of Veracity in Jewish Law." Then at 10 and 11 pm, clergy and lay-leaders of our congregations will offer a variety of 1-hour learning sessions. At midnight we will gather to hear the chanting of Aseret Ha-Dibbrot (The Ten Commandments), and the Tikkun will conclude with Dr. Panken offering a final session entitled: "Seek Peace and Pursue It."

In addition to the many remarkable learning opportunities, the Tikkun will offer sessions for elementary age children at 7:30 pm and for teens beginning at 10 pm.

You are invited to join us for part or the entirety of the Tikkun. The evening is free and open to the public.

9 PM

Dr. Aaron Panken / "How True is True? True Lies, Alternative Truths and the Value of Veracity in Jewish Law"
Jewish texts have clearly privileged speaking the truth over propagating false information, with certain fascinating exceptions. There are definite examples where the truth must be shaped or altered in its presentation for various reasons. Philosophical texts, likewise, sometimes require lies when the truth may cause certain or potential damage. This session will explore a few of the core texts that define this conundrum in Jewish thought, along with a few philosophical responses, sketching the boundaries of shaping the truth and providing guidance for reacting to untruths we encounter. It is not entirely impossible that this discussion will be relevant to contemporary politics and situations that take place in community settings.

10 PM

Rabbi Norman Patz / Revelation at Sinai: Fake News?"
Polemics, Justifications and Falsification: an examination of how the events at Sinai have been treated by the various Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions over the centuries and what it all means to us.

Rabbi Laurence Groffman / "Abracadabra: Jewish Magic, Superstition and Demons"
Demons, magic, amulets, superstitions -- we Jews have it all! Come explore the "folk religion" of Judaism and the different ways we Jews make sense of the world around us.

Cantor Kenneth Feibush and Cantor Meredith Greenberg / "Rolling Into Dark"
An interactive musical exploration of the transition from day into night. Cantors Kenneth Feibush and Meredith Greenberg, with musical accompaniment by Ed Alstrom, will use the art of musical midrash and text study to deepen our connection to the transformative nature of the Maariv Aravim/Evening prayer.

Rabbi Steven Kushner / "Stop! Don't Look! Listen!"
Why do we no longer hear God's Voice? What was the great 'sin' of the Israelites that drove the Divine Voice from our world? Above all, how is the lesson of the imperative to hear God at the very core of what it means to be a Jew? Join with Rabbi Kushner for an in-depth analysis of several Biblical texts to appreciate the sacred tension between the visual and the aural in Judaism. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary.

Rabbi Elliott Tepperman / "The Ashrey: Psalm 145 as a self-help guide to happiness"
The acrostic that touches on so many parts of the spiritual journey that its repetition was taught to be the key to eternal life. A deep dive into this core piece of our liturgy.

11 PM

Rabbi David Greenstein / "The Scandal of the Portrait of Moses"
We are told that, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, his face shone. But what did Moses actually look like? Later artists have imagined his likeness for millennia. But when one prominent rabbi told a story about a portrait of Moses that was painted from life, his story was one of surprise and, for some, scandal. What does that story tell us about Moses and about us?

Rabbi Ariann Weitzman / "Judaism and Revolution: The Talmud and Emmanuel Levinas"
A reading of a Talmudic story with the help of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. In the words of Levinas, "Revolution takes place when one frees humankind, that is, revolution takes place when one tears humankind away from economic determinism." In what ways is the Talmud a revolutionary document in a revolutionary genre? How does it argue against "economic determinism"? Is the reward of the "just person" contained in their very labor?

Elisa Spungen Bildner / "Yoga"
Celebrate the Giving of the Torah and the end of the Counting of the Omer with 50 minutes of yoga, themed to Shavuot. All levels welcome. Dress in comfortable clothes. Please bring a mat if you own one.

12:30 AM

Dr. Aaron Panken / "Seek Peace and Pursue It"
Jewish tradition holds as one of its highest ideals the making of peace between parties who disagree. In a world that is profoundly more divided and polarized than in the recent past, how should Jewish people of good intention act in the world to make peace between the various parties they encounter? In this late-night shiur, we will explore the surprisingly relevant guidance offered by biblical and rabbinic texts for making peace in difficult situations.

YOUTH PROGRAMS: 7:30 PM and 10 PM

Michele Lainof / "Together We Rise"
Come help to repair the world. With Ner Tamid's Youth Group Advisor, Michele Lainof, we will be learning about the Foster care system, studying about our obligation to take care of those in need, and assemble and decorate Duffel bags for children in the foster care system. The duffel bags project is through Together We Rise www.togetherwerise.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization comprised of motivated young adults and former foster youth. Their vision is to improve the lives of foster children in America, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected by the public. We collaborate with community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.