שבועיים
Every two Weeks
In this Newsletter:

. Virtual Tikkun Leil Shavuot on May 28
. Register for a Shabbat Healing Circle on May 30
. Announcing Pride Havdalah service with Rabbi Goldberg and Paula Wolfson in June
. Excerpt from Jonathan Silin’s “Visiting Ruth,” a story about striving to stay connected
From the Board
Dear Members:

Welcome to the first issue of Shavouim ! It means “every two weeks.” Since we are sending out our newsletter more often, we decided to give it a name. Even when we don’t manage to send it out every bi-weekly (for example, over the summer), its name will remind us of our need and desire to stay connected as a congregation.

Many of you were able to enjoy the virtual offerings on Saturday. Shoshana led a group in movement and dance to wake us up and celebrate the Shabbat. Eden's storytelling enlivened the afternoon ( https://youtu.be/ahbf-GfFjXw ). Big thanks to Shoshana and Eden. We have received very positive feedback for both sessions and hope to continue to offer meaningful activities. Thank you, too, to our Education Committee for its recent story on the B'nei Mitzvah Program and mazel tov to all the participants!  If there is something you would like to offer, please let us know. And as part of trying to improve the look of our newsletter, we are inviting you to submit original graphics or photos.

There are many more activities scheduled for the next few weeks. Penny Weinstock will be offering a healing circle on May 30. There is a Tikkun (all night study service) for Shavout on May 28. This holiday is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals; the others are Succot and Pesach. The contemporary interpretation is to commemorate the giving of the Five Books of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai and the ending of the Omer, the seven weeks between Pesach and Shavout. Originally, in ancient times, this was a harvest festival, as were many of the other holidays we now mark in other ways. Shavuot celebrated the first fruits, dates, figs, wheat, etc. that were brought to the temple on the pilgrimage. It’s the first and most important holiday of summer. Hopefully by then, we'll be outside, walking through parks and enjoying the warm weather.

On June 13, we will have our traditional Pride service. This year it will be an online Havdalah service led by Rabbi Goldberg and Paula Wolfson. We hope to have other activities in store for June. Stay tuned and stay well!

Board of Directors
The Phone Tree
Thanks to Board member, Abbe Edelson, for organizing a phone tree to check in on how members are doing during the pandemic and to see if anyone needs help with errands, such as groceries. And thanks to everyone who volunteered to make calls and/or pick up groceries, including Abbe, Eden Nameri, Donna Frank and our Treasurer, Mark Fine. If we didn’t reach you and you need help, please contact: communityhelp@shirlibeynu.ca
Upcoming Events
A Reminder to Register for A Shabbat Zoom Healing  Circle
Penny Winestock
Saturday, May 30, 10:30-11:30  am
 
During these turbulent times it can be a challenge to connect, both with each other and with our own hearts. We’ll use simple yet powerful tools from our own and other wisdom traditions to relieve some of the loss and uncertainty we face, and to remind us of possibility.
Virtual Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Thursday, May 28, 7:00 pm -1:15 am

A virtual night of community, study, snacking and more! There are many ways to plug into Tikkun this year. Live sessions will be hosted throughout the evening; pre-recorded ‘Torah Slams’ from your favourite downtown Rabbis and leaders will be released throughout the evening; and a self-guided supplement sourced from community leaders that reinterpret and reimagine traditional Jewish texts and open new community conversations. All are welcome . Free. https://www.facebook.com/events/3848276158577727
From Our Members
“Visiting Ruth”
Jonathan Silin

Shir Libeynu member and volunteer, Jonathan Silin, recently published “Visiting Ruth” in Tablet magazine. Several of us on the Board read it and were moved by its beauty and integrity. As he tries to stay connected to an old friend with Alzheimer’s Disease, he asks himself some hard, very human questions and strives to answer them. We thought it would resonate with many of us, as we try to make sense of the suffering in the world and are separated from loved ones.

We asked Jonathan if we could include part of his story in our newsletter and he received permission for us to do so. These are two paragraphs from near the end:
 
I want to believe that my visits to Ruth are selflessly motivated. I know better. I go as much for myself as for Ruth, my acts more transactional than transformative, more instrumental than generous. I don’t want to be abandoned even if impaired cognition prevents me from knowing I am alone. I visit Ruth so that someone will visit me. I am moved equally by ethical imperative and magical thinking.

If I do not wish to be forgotten then it is incumbent on me to remember others. Hillel put it this way when he was challenged by a gentile who asked to be converted to Judaism under the condition that the Torah be explained to him while he stood on one foot, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: This is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary; go and learn.”

Congregation Shir Libeynu