/ Notes for the Field

Notes for the Field

Sources from Sources: A Resource for Shavuot 5784

A collection of five study guides for Shavuot learning
Rabbi Jessica Fisher is the Director of Rabbinic Enrichment at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She previously served as one of the rabbis at Beth El Synagogue Center in Westchester, NY. Jessica has a BA magna cum laude in History from Columbia University and a BA summa cum laude in Midrash from the Jewish Theological Seminary. After working for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and launching and directing Diller Teen Fellows Chicago, Jessica returned

Shavuot, the holiday when we commemorate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, is a festival for learners and learning. It is a time when we celebrate our intellectual inheritance—not only the Torah, but also the generations of writing, thinking, debates, and conversations about Judaism and Jewish life. Jews have immersed themselves in study as an audacious spiritual practice for millennia. Jewish learning is audacious because it centers human interpretation within a sacred framework. And Jewish learning is audacious because our people have turned to learning as a source of solace, inspiration, protest, and strength at even the most difficult moments in Jewish history.

During times of crisis, many find it difficult to think past the immediate moment. One way learning can serve as a form of solace and strength during such times is to use it as an impetus to think deeply and creatively about the future. “Sources from Sources: A Resource for Shavuot 5784” is a collection of five study guides that will challenge you to step back from what is happening right now and to imagine where we need to go from here. Each guide is an interactive exploration of an article from the Spring 2024 issue of Sources: A Journal of Jewish Ideas, which focused on Jewish Life Tomorrow with essays exploring key Jewish concepts. While all the articles are thought-provoking, this resource focuses on five in particular: Diaspora, Obligation, Praxis, Rabbi, and Spirituality. To read these articles in their entirety or to subscribe to Sources, visit www.sourcesjournal.org.

Each guide includes an opening framing, excerpts of the article, primary sources discussed in the article, and questions to help you deepen your understanding of the material and foster conversation. These guides can be used on your own as a self-reflective study practice, with a hevruta (study partner) or group, or as source material for teaching others, on Shavuot or any other time.

If you’d like to dedicate your learning in honor of one of the hostages or in memory of a person who was killed in the last 8 months, we encourage you to share their name and some of their story before you begin your Shavuot learning. Alternatively, you may choose to set an intention for your study, such as a desire for your Shavuot learning to be a source of healing or hope. Stating these kinds of goals out loud can create a prayerful framing for learning with the aspiration that it may impact our world in some way.

However you choose to use “Sources from Sources,” the texts and ideas contained here will inspire you to think deeply about the Jewish present and future as you immerse yourself in the profound practice of Jewish learning.

Read and download the PDF of Sources from Sources: A Resource for Shavuot 5784.

For more Shavuot articles, essays, videos, and podcasts from Hartman Scholars, visit our Shavuot resource page.

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