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May 16, 2021 - May 17, 2021

Center City Kehillah Shavuot Learning

The holiday begins Sunday, May 16 at sundown and goes through Tuesday, May 18. Shavuot has long been one of the most celebrated opportunities for our Center City Jewish community to come together, and we’re glad to be able to reimagine our celebration once again for the times we’re in.

Join us Sunday, May 16 on Zoom from 3:00-6:00 pm 
Join us Monday, May 17 throughout the day for classes outdoors around Center City

REGISTER HERE for the session(s) you want to attend. The first 100 registrants will get a special Shavuot treat emailed to them from the Center City Kehillah right before the holiday.

AND… just a reminder that PA primaries are the 2nd day of Shavuot. Click here to get a mail-in ballot.


Sunday, May 16 (on Zoom)
Two classes will be happening concurrently each hour. The Zoom link for the entire afternoon will be sent to you after your registration. 

3:00 pm

Shavuot Trivia
with Aliza Egeth, Makom Community
Join Center City kids ages 7-11 for a fun Kahoot game about Shavuot. For kids by kids!

People of the Book: Portrayals of Jewish Characters in Popular Literature
with Christy Cook-Schwartz, Germantown Jewish Centre
This session will explore how Jewish characters and Judaism are portrayed in popular literature. We will explore excerpts from fiction and non-fiction texts as well as have time for discussion of characters participants wish to discuss. This interactive discussion will be appropriate for readers and learners of all levels.

4:00 pm

You don’t have to be a Rabbi or Professor to Teach a Jewish Class
with Bobbi Cohen, Leyv Ha-Ir
Bobbi will present an overview on how to create a presentation on a Jewish topic using online and other resources. Even if you are not a professional or an expert, you will find this helpful in engaging with others in our larger community.

Rachav, Tamar, Ruth: David’s Yichus and Zichus
with Rabbi Gila Ruskin, Kol Tzedek
Each of these three Biblical women, all relatives of David, could have had a tarnished reputation, but became heroines instead. Let’s learn their fascinating stories and determine how they can inspire us.

5:00 pm

Introduction to Shavuot
with Rabbi Jill Maderer, Congregation Rodeph Shalom
Rabbi Maderer will share some of the basics of Shavuot. Whether you’re new to Judaism, seeking, converting, or Jewish but new to the holiday, there’s always something to learn. Bring your questions!

Shavuot and Lessons of What It Means to be Truly Human
with Dr. Saundra Sterling Epstein, Mekor Habracha and Eshel
Without Shavuot and its historical significance, Pesach and its experience would be meaningless. For what good is Zeman Chiruteinu, the Time of our Freedom without achieving the goal of that freedom, namely observing and rejoicing in Zeman Matan Torateinu, the time of the receiving of our Torah? We are reminded that all of us experienced going out from Egypt. Similarly we are taught that all of us were present at the receiving of our Torah as well. It is this Torah that instructs us how to act and live. It is this Torah that exhibits the very essence of our humanity – with our capacity for greatness as well as the reality of our tendency towards shortcomings. Within this frame we will look at the shortcomings of our lives as we consider the powerful gift of Torah and through it, G-d’s acceptance and embracing of the frailty as well as strength of what it means to be truly human.

Monday, May 17 (in person)
Please note: All attendees must be masked, and social distancing will be enforced. Do not attend if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if you feel unwell. Please bring your own chair or mat/towel to sit on, as no chairs will be provided. Unless noted below, in case of inclement weather, these sessions will be canceled.

11:30 am in South Philly, exact location TBA
The Problem with Love is…Rabbi Akiva, His Students, and What Went Wrong
with Rabbanit Dasi Fruchter, South Philadelphia Shtiebel
There is a tradition that the mourning period of the Omer is related to the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students, who did not treat one another with respect. How is it possible that Rabbi Akiva, the great teacher of “love your neighbor as yourself” had students who were notorious for treating each other badly? Is it possible that deep love can threaten basic respect and dignity?

2:00 pm in Fitler Square, 23rd and Pine – Rain Date Tuesday
Where You Go, I Go; Where You Stay, I Stay
with Rabbi Abe Friedman, BZBI
At the heart of the Book of Ruth are questions of commitment, relationship, identity, and self. We will look carefully at selected scenes from Ruth and ask how they can help us better understand how we relate to the people closest to us and the communities in which we live.

4:00 pm in Julian Abele Park, 22nd between Montrose and Carpenter
Kohelet: Cultivating Holy & Meaningful Moments in our Lives
with Beverly Socher-Lerner, Makom Community
Explore Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) to look for clues on how we can build meaning and intention into our daily lives even when pandemic time is strange and can feel endless.

5:00 pm in Carpenter Green, 17th and Carpenter
Is There a “Judeo-Christian Heritage?”
with Chesky Kopel, Mekor Habracha
The existence of a “Judeo-Christian heritage” is widely accepted in contemporary American life. This session will argue against Jewish buy-in to this term and propose a postcolonial, anti-“Judeo-Christian” reading of a concept in Lurianic Kabbalah and Hassidut.

6:00 pm in Rittenhouse Square
Grad Student Chavura
with Mallory Kovit, Hillel’s Grad Network
Looking for connect and have meaningful conversation through a Jewish lens? Join Grad Network’s Shavuot Chavura meet-up!

Center City Kehillah organizations’ Shavuot services and events

Sunday, May 16
Kol Tzedek’s Abolition Teach-in
9:00 pm-midnight
In honor of Shavuot, we invite you to join us for an exploration of abolitionist practices in different modalities. We will be studying Jewish texts, discussing adrienne maree brown’s new book We Will Not Cancel Us and learning about the Breathe Act with KT4BlackLives members. Bring your questions and your curiosity. Zoom info available on Kol Tzedek’s website.


Center City Kehillah


Philadelphia, PA United States
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