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Shavuot 2020

Next Thursday night (6th of Sivan / 28th of May at sundown) we begin celebrating the holiday of Shavuot. Shavuot is one of the Shalosh Regalim - our major festivals of pilgrimage and gathering - along with Pesach and Sukkot. While Shavuot and the others were established by the Torah, its meaning and observance have evolved throughout our history.

When we needed to celebrate our harvest, Shavuot gave us the platform to do that. When we needed to celebrate the study of Torah that has sustained us, even when wheat from the Promised Land did not. Shavuot gave us the tikkun leyl Shavuot, a custom of sharing wisdom from the Torah as a community, reflected through the lens of our own community’s scholars and teachers.

This year we need wisdom from the Torah to negotiate our challenges and responsibilities as free people in a difficult time. And when don’t we? But this year is different. So rather than gathering on Erev Shavuot for a series of study sessions (punctuated by spiritual moments...and cheesecake) we’re hosting a safe-at-home series of TED-Talk-style videos during which 9 different teachers will share 8 different topics in a way that celebrates how we can continue to gain new understanding from an ancient text.

You will have access to these teachings all at once, but you can choose how and when you engage with them, whether it’s one per day or a Netflix-style binge many of us have been practicing lately. What’s important is that you DO engage with them. You are free to just watch and learn, but we believe you’ll get the most out of this experience if you take time to consider the content, ask questions about it in the Comments section on YouTube, and start conversations about it at home with your family, roommates, or friends online. Wrestle with it. Interrogate it. Open yourself up to be changed by our master story that was spoken once, but illuminates our path anew each day.

Who knows, maybe next year, you will teach us your Torah. Only this year: Bring your own cheesecake.

Sunday, May 24 7:00PM 

Join Cantor Ruth Berman Harris and Kim Heyman for a Zoom group discussion about ways to use your ties to Jewish tradition to help you cope during this time of physical distancing.

Check your recent PJTC weekly or Shavuot programming emails for Zoom link, or email | add to calendar

Kim Heyman, LCSW Kim is a licensed psychotherapist with 24 years of experience in private practice. Kim works with individuals and couples with issues that include depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, death and dying, parenting and relationship challenges. She uses a number of therapeutic modalities including but not limited to Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavior ...more

Cantor Ruth Berman Harris You likely know all about this wonderful woman from listening to her beautiful voice and receiving her intuitive guidance over the years as PJTC's Cantor. But, if you would like to learn more, click here.

Gratitude Days Challenge May 22-30 

PJTC has partnered with Days of Gratitude, an organization designed to help people express their gratitude. During our current uncertain times, with everyday heroes stepping up to the front lines to keep us healthy, safe and living with as much normalcy as possible, we felt it was important to spread the word and share as much gratitude as possible. Here's how you can participate:

  • Sign up with Days of Gratitude to be part of a larger community and receive an emailed daily dose of gratitude. click here to sign up
  • Check our PJTC congregants-only FaceBook page daily starting on May 22 (except for during Shabbat!), where we will provide you with daily prompts for finding new ways for showing gratitude. click to visit our page
  • Comment on those posts, or create your own posts in our FB group, and share stories, pictures and videos of ways you expressed gratitude. Sum up your week in one post, tell us about one act of gratitude in particular, or pass along a gratitude activity that you think other congregants might enjoy.

Friday, May 29 9:30AM 

Shavuot Services click here to join | add to calendar

Friday, May 29 7:30PM 

Shavuot/Shabbat Services click here to join | add to calendar

Saturday, May 30 9:30AM 

Shavuot/Shabbat Services click here to join | add to calendar

Celebrate how we can continue to gain new understanding from an ancient text by watching these teaching videos at your leisure. We encourage you to engage with questions and thoughts in the YouTube comments sections for each video and to start conversations with your friends, colleagues and loved ones. (Keep scrolling for speaker bios!)


Jill Gold Wright: The Book of Psalms and How it Reflects Human Experience 

Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon: The Book of Leviticus 

Susan Auerbach: Mental Health Awareness to Support Our Families & Communities 

Rabbi Jason Mann: The Book of Ruth: A Journey to Redemption 

Ida UngerA Personal Journey Through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life 

Rabbi Carrier: Shavuot and Kosher Wine 

"TED Talk" PJTC STYLE: Speaker Bios

Susan Auerbach A congregant since 1987, chaired the PJTC Spiritual Needs Task Force and has been active in the Adult Education, Rosh Chodesh, Social Justice, and Rabbi Search Committees. She recently retired as a professor of education at ...more

Ida Unger A certified Iyengar yoga instructor with extensive experience in guiding students to understand and practice the ancient mind-body science of yoga.  Ida holds a Master's Degree in Education and a B.A. in English, both from UCLA,  ...more

Rabbi Jason Mann After completing 30 years of medical practice as a Hematologist and Oncologist, Dr. Mann began an exploration of the field of spiritual care. This led him to train to become a Hospital Chaplain and Spiritual ...more

Jill Gold Wright Jill Gold Wright is a full-time professor of English at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.  She was twice voted Outstanding Teacher by the honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma and was nominated Outstanding Faculty of ...more

Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon Rabbi Shana Chandler Leon is a graduate of UCLA, American Jewish University (MaEd '05) and the Academy for Jewish Religion-CA (ordination class of '15). She is a native San Franciscan, and has served as spiritual leader for ...more

Rabbi John Carrier Rabbi Carrier was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University. He previously served as the Rabbi of Burbank Temple Emanu El, a diverse Conservative synagogue in nearby Burbank, California. ...more

Sun, June 7 2020 15 Sivan 5780