In this preparatory session for Shavuot, we will look at the spiritual practice of studying sacred text, with emphasis on the traditional themes of revelation (both of the earth's bounty and of Torah from a Reconstructionist perspective), of faith (The Book of Ruth) and how we come "down from the mountain" of peak experiences to live ethical and spiritually conscious lives in connection with our faith communities and the world-at-large.
You can listen to the audio recording of this call here: http://jrf.org/node/2686
Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D. Is a 1989 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and recently received a second rabbinical ordination from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. She is spiritual leader of Kol Ami: the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community and ongoing Scholar-in-Residence at The American University in Washington, D.C. She is developing a Jewish adaptation of a Christian practice of contemplative Bible Study and is has a book in progress entitled Reading the Sacred in Silence: A Contemplative Entry into Torah.
Shifrah Tobacman is a student in the Aleph Rabbinic Program and a recent graduate of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She has written a thesis on the Counting of the Omer, its history and contemporary practices related to it. She has also written a series of poetic meditations based on the practice that can be used for others’ personal journeys, or be used as examples upon which people can build (or write) their own meditations. She is particularly interested in sharing old and new traditions with others to enrich our collective and individual spiritual lives, and enhance endeavors for Tikkun Olam, repair and transformation of our world and society. Her experience as a long time group facilitator, trainer and Compassionate Listening facilitator lends itself well to this endeavor, as do her many decades of work in the fields of public health, health education and integrated health care. Shifrah is also the writer, producer and performer of Rooftop Poems, a series of poetic vignettes based on her meetings with Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank in 2001-2002.
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, (www.rabbizevit.com) is the Director of Outreach & Tikkun Olam, and a congregational consultant and resource developer for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is a founding member of Shabbat Unplugged and the Davenning Leaders’ Training Institute, and a spiritual director for numerous clergy and communities. He has written and developed resources and delivered workshops in the areas of community building, leadership, prayer, interactive midrash, contemporary views of GOD, prayer and spiritual leadership skills, money and Jewish values, social justice issues, Jewish environmental concerns and Jewish men's issues. He is the author of "Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community (Alban, 2005), co-editor of "Brother Keepers: New Essays in Jewiush Masculinities" (Men's Studies Press, 2010) and the Recon Press publications on "Money and Jewish Values" and "Manual for Effective Boards and Committees".