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Tik-ZOOM -Too  Leil Shavuot

Sunday, May 16th

6:30pm – Midnight


Tikkun Leil Shavuot - A Kabbalistic (Jewish mysticism) tradition of late night (or all night) Torah learning on the eve of Shavuot (the festival celebrating God’s giving and our receiving of the Torah).

Do we do this because of a Midrash that says the Children of Israel overslept that morning at Sinai when God gave us Torah?  Is it to sharpen our senses so we’ll be truly ready and receptive?  Or, as the Kabbalists believed, because the heavens open most favorably at midnight for those who stay up on the anniversary of our national revelation?  Is it likening the relationship between God and Israel to that of a bride and bridegroom? 

Well, the answer is, “Yes!  Of course.”

Join together with several congregations and an incredible group of rabbis and scholars from far and wide as we learn from one another in celebration of God, Torah, and Jewish People-hood.

There will be break-out rooms for you to pick and choose from, panel discussions, and time to schmooze with new and old friends.  So get your Yom Tov candles ready, make a pot of coffee, put out some chocolate and cheesecake, and bring your yearning for learning.


Our Presenters (in no particular order):


Rabbi Marc Kraus - Temple Emanuel, Virginia Beach VA

Marc has served Temple Emanuel in Virginia Beach for seven years. In his spare time, he’s a candidate for an M.Ed in Counseling at the College of William and Mary. Prior to the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, he spent time in the Pardes Kollel and received his undergraduate degree in Hebrew Literature from Oxford University. His interests include rabbinic demonology and clinical applications of mindfulness meditation. He has a four-year-old named Shmoo, with whom he shares a devotion to superheroes and Ketchup.

How to Read the Bible: A Golden Calf Conspiracy

Sometimes, reading our sacred texts in chronological order can leave us very confused. The stories of the golden calves (!) are a great example; they don't make any sense. As modern-day detectives, we'll use everyday skills to examine the evidence and unravel ancient mysteries. Warning: This session may change how you think about Torah.


Rabbi Alon C. Ferency - Heska Amuna Congregation, Knoxville, TN

Alon Ferency is the rabbi of Heska Amuna Synagogue in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is a founding board member of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the rabbi-in-residence at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, religious consultant to Burt Reynolds' The Last Movie Star, an editor to the Rabbinical Assebmly's editions of Pirke Avot and Esther, and a Dungeon Master for tabletop role-playing games using Hebrew Bible and other Jewish Folklore & Mythology.

Building Your Jewish Mindfulness Practice: A Workshop through Covid and Beyond

Even through the death and disruption of the Coronavirus pandemic, renewed time with family, friends, and even just by ourselves has been a balm and a boon to many. Some people have even appreciated just having time to think. How can we maintain the mindfulness and serenity that many of us embraced during quarantine, while at the same time returning to some degree of social and professional normalcy? Bring your experiences, reflections, and recommendations, and we'll also work on some techniques.


Rabbi Nelly Altenburger - Congregation B'nai Israel, Danbury CT/Congregation Adath Israel, Middletown, CT

Rabbi Nelly was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  She has also spent time living in Argentina, England, and Israel.  She is a fluent speaker of Portuguese, English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Rabbi Nelly’s mission is to draw people closer to Torah and Jewish texts, communal prayer, and actions that strengthen bridges between individuals and communities. She loves teaching children and adults of all ages, and learning from their questions and comments. Besides being a pulpit rabbi she’s active in interfaith efforts and in gun regulation efforts."

Being Jewish-American:

An exploration of the question of belonging through the lenses of two holidays: Halloween and Valentine's Day


Rabbi Steven Henkin - Congregation Agudath Achim, Savannah, GA

A native of the Chicago suburbs (and lifelong Chicago sports fan), Rabbi Henkin has studied at the University of Minnesota, Emory University, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, where he received his rabbinic ordination and M.A. in Rabbinic Studies in 2014.  Before coming to Savannah, Rabbi Henkin served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland.  Rabbi Henkin brings with him a passion for building Jewish community, education both of children and adults, and making Judaism meaningful and relevant to the daily life of 21st Century Jews, along with a love of reading, music, TV crime shows, working out, sports, and being outdoors.  He is excited to share his adventures with his wife, Orly, and his children, Dinah and Noah. 

What the World Can't Live Without:

We all know the story of Creation and how God created this magnificent world we live in through the power of speech in six days (then rested on Shabbat).  But beyond the story we read in Genesis, what else did God create?  What else did God think the world could not exist without?  As we look at rabbinic interpretations of Creation, we'll also explore what they tell us about the world we are to help build and what we think the world needs.

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Paul Litwack MNLP MTLT MCHt

Paul consistently celebrates his wide-ranging Jewish life experiences, from Conservative to Chabad. Community-minded, he is active in UJA and Beit Rayim, Toronto (Ba’al T’filah/Koreh and inspiring D’var Torahs), and he volunteered at Ground Zero, just a week after 9/11. Drawing from 40+ years (from the back room to the Boardroom, on four continents), Coach Paul empowers leaders to apply his Get UNstuck NOW! Breakthrough coaching system – to consistently create more compelling, immediately improved, and lasting results in their lives (and for those who matter to them). Paul was selected to ‘The Top 100 Corporate Coaches in the World’; and in the Toronto Star 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards as ‘ Best in the City’: Hypnosis; Life Coaching; … and Bartending (his professional hobby… ask him about his ‘Chanukahhhhh’ cocktail). 

How to Hallucinate Better NOW!: Ready, FIRE… Aim! (in that order!) 

In this crazy Covid-19 mishegas, something unexpectedly profound has come to light: Imperfect action achieves consistently better results… than waiting! Imagine that. Ever wonder why? 
In this engaging and immediately relevant-to-you session, Coach Paul draws from relevant Tanachic, Talmudic, Kabbalic resources (and more) to empower you to harness your Best Self (your Inner Truth/Emmet) to create results that serve you best. On demand. So that you will then know that you know that you know what you know. (PS: that is proper grammar! ;-)


Rivka Campbell - Executive Director Beit Rayim Synagogue and School, Toronto Ontario

Rivka, a Jew of Jamaican descent born and raised in Toronto, seeks to build community among Jews of Colour in Canada while opening dialogue among the mainstream Jewish community about the experience of Jews of Colour and Jewish Diversity. She is the co-founder of the group Jews of Colour – Canada and the sole Canadian recipient of the inaugural URJ’s JewV’Nation Fellowship. Rivka is a recognized speaker on Jewish Diversity and has been interviewed by CJN and other publications numerous times. Rivka is filming a documentary on Jewish Diversity and producing a podcast “Rivkush” which will focus on diversity, Israel and Jewish topics. She is also the Executive Director at Beit Rayim Synagogue and is a board member of ADRABA - Toronto’s first 21st century Jewish high school.

Jews of Jamaica

The Jews of Jamaica first came to the island in the 1400's because of the Spanish Inquisition. You will learn about the rich history and the important contributions of Jews in Jamaica.


Rabbi Joshua Corber - Beit Rayim Synagogue and School, Toronto Ontario

Rabbi Corber grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia where he studied Religion Literature and the Arts at UBC. He also studied at Edinburgh University in Scotland and Pardes in Jerusalem before enrolling at the Ziegler School of Rabbnic Studies in Los Angeles where he was ordained in 2013.  Rabbi Corber is the Senior Rabbi of Beit Rayim Synagogue and School in Vaughan, Ontario where he lives with his wife Chloe and his two children, Isaac (1) and Eliana (3). He is a trained Reiki Master with a passion for music, fitness meditation and mysticism.

Smoke and Fire, Thunder and Lightening:

Understanding the experience of the Revelation at Mount Sinai.


Dr. Erin Danielle Darby - Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Dr. Erin Darby is an associate professor of Early Judaism and the Faculty Director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at the University of Tennessee. Erin is an active field archaeologist and specializes in the Hebrew Bible, the religion of ancient Israel, and the role of women in the biblical world. 

Excavating Ruth?: The Archaeology of Household Space and Gender in Ancient Israel

Participants will explore the process of rediscovering women in the archaeology of ancient Israel. The session will discuss the tools archaeologists use to recover daily life in the household during the Iron Age, as well as the pitfalls and possibilities in the study of ancient Israelite women.

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Dr. Linda Sacks, MD  - Congregation Agudath Achim, Savannah, GA

Linda M. Sacks, MD is a native of Philadelphia, PA.  She trained as a neonatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and served as director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital in Savannah for 11 years. She retired from active clinical practice in March 2016.  She has published several original scientific articles, poetry, and a book, Valley of Tiny Shadows.  Now that she's retired, Dr. Sacks facilitates two local Jewish women’s study groups and is an active teacher-participant in classes at the Senior Learning Center and Jewish Educational Alliance in Savannah.

Understanding Eshet Chayil

By Jewish tradition, a husband recites the final 22 verses of Proverbs, known as Eshet Chayil, to his wife at dinner on Friday night.  Often cited as old-fashioned and misogynistic, what do these Biblical words really mean?  Where does this Shabbat tradition come from?   Was there actually a real Woman of Valor?  Or was it a composite of the desirable wife? Or do these words of praise refer to something completely different?  Can modern women (and men) learn to appreciate these sentiments?

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Rabbi Mathew Marko - Congregation Beth Israel, Greenville SC

Mathew grew up in NY, lived in Florida, Israel, The Cayman Islands, and prior to serving Beth Israel, spent 20 years in Los Angeles.  His career adventures have included acting professionally, and being proprietor of a fine carpentry and custom furniture shop. Outside of rabbinical life, his passions include being a certified Scuba instructor, riding his BMW motorcycle, playing music, working in his shop on fine woodcraft (mostly for various synagogue commissions), teaching woodworking to teens at Camp Ramah Darom, and being a creative kosher chef of international cuisine and "kosher treiff."

Man, That Cantor Stinks

An amusing and informative look at what makes a fitting Shaliach Tzibbur (prayer leader).  We'll start with the classic texts, then read some comedic versed poetry by Yehuda Alharizi (12th century Spain) poking light-hearted fun at a particularly challenged Hazzan.  We'll have more than a few laughs.

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