Annual Community-Wide All Night Shavuot Program
A Kansas City Tradition to Feature Keynote Speaker Rabbi Steve Greenberg
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The Jewish community will join together for an evening of prayer, study and celebration at the annual all-night Shavuot program on Tuesday, May 14 at Kehilath Israel Synagogue, 10501 Conser. The evening begins at 8:15 p.m. with two Mincha services including a traditional and a Learner’s service. The celebration will include a catered dairy buffet dinner, followed by a keynote featuring noted award-winning author, noted teacher, and religious iconoclast, Rabbi Steve Greenberg. His topic: “Wrestling with God and Men: Four Rationales for the Biblical Prohibition.”
A Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Rabbi Greenberg was featured in the acclaimed 2001 film Trembling Before G-d, about Orthodox gay Jews, and has appeared in over 500 post-screening community dialogues throughout the world. As educational coordinator for the film’s outreach project, he arranged for screenings in Israel’s religious school system, reaching over 2,000 principals, educators and school counselors. A popular speaker on issues of faith, sexuality, and tradition, Rabbi Greenberg helped organize the first Orthodox Mental Health Conference on homosexuality, and has worked with numerous families in reconciliation.
Winner of the coveted Koret Book Award for Philosophy and Thought, Rabbi Greenberg is the author of the groundbreaking book Wrestling with God & Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), which explores homosexuality and Jewish tradition. The Koret awards are the most prestigious in Jewish prose. The book was also selected as a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards.
Rabbi Greenberg is a founding member and educational advisor of the Open House in Jerusalem, an organization that advances the cause of social tolerance. A renowned speaker across the U.S., Greenberg has participated in forums at such leading institutions as Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government-Institute of Politics with Bishop Gene Robinson, and at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco with Congressman Mark Leno.
A guest on numerous talk shows including NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Rabbi Greenberg is a frequent commentator for the media and has published several articles on Jewish law and church and state issues. An expert scholar in Jewish texts and tradition, he is an often requested educator by communities.
Rabbi Greenberg received his B.A. in philosophy from Yeshiva University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows program, a two-year fellowship for senior Jewish educators sponsored by the Mandel Institute.
Informal study sessions with Rabbi Greenberg, area rabbis and the Kansas City Kollel will be offered all night.” R. Greenberg will lead a study session at 1:30 a.m. on the topic: “Honor and Shame”: Weapons and Violence in Jewish Tradition.” A sunrise service and breakfast will conclude this holiday celebration. Stay for a few hours or remain until dawn and engage in ruach and stimulating study opportunities. Snacks and coffee will be served.
Shavuot comes fifty days after the first day of Pesach, after the counting of the Omer has been completed and celebrates God’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. Learning is an integral part of Judaism and therefore, it is befitting for the community to come together at this time to study. Shavuot also celebrates the harvest season. It is a custom to read the Book of Ruth, the story of a woman who voluntarily converts to Judaism as well as to stay up on the first night of Shavuot to study Torah and then to say the morning prayers at sunrise. The Kansas City Jewish Community has celebrated this Shavuot tradition for over 30 years.
A catered dairy buffet dinner featuring a favorite selection of Shavout delicacies including blintzes and cheesecake will be served at 9:00 p.m. The cost is $15.00 per adult and $10 per student (age 21 and under). Mandatory advance reservations are required by Wednesday, May 8 and should be sent (make checks payable to Rabbinical Association) to Rabbinical Association, 5801 W. 115, Suite 113, Overland Park, KS 66211. Reservations received after May 8, is $18.00 per adult. There is no charge to the community to attend the study programs only, which begin at 10:00.
This program is cosponsored by The Rabbinical Association of Greater KC, supported by area congregations and funded by the Caviar Family Scholar In Residence Series of Kehilath Israel Synagogue.