Students hold Tikkun at the NIF sponsored study session at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem
In honor of the Jewish holiday now marked by serious study and learning, thousands of Israelis participated in 35 NIF-funded Shavuot study sessions last week. The sessions, many of them sponsored by groups not previously associated with NIF, reflected the complex composition of Israeli society and the daunting range of moral issues confronting the country.
At the Leo Baeck High School in Haifa, a rabbi, imam and priest spoke about interfaith dialogue, religious pluralism, and respect for the other. And at Bet Daniel Reform movement center in Tel Aviv, novelist A.B. Yehoshua and MK Shelly Yacimovitch led a Shavuot Tikkun study entitled "Truth and Lies."
In Be’er Sheva, Ethiopian immigrant women discussed the Book of Ruth in Amharic and Hebrew in a session entitled “Women Embroider a Dream”, while in Ashdod the Russian-speaking immigrant community of Congregation Aish David studied tolerance and acceptance of the other.
A Tikkun event at the Kol Haneshama Reform Synagogue in Jerusalem entitled "The Tension between Jewish Discourse and Human Rights " explored how to reconcile the religious identity of the Chosen People alongside solidarity with Israel’s Arab minority.
Sharon Goldberg, who organized the event, said, "As a religious person who attends the demonstrations at Sheikh Jarrah and other solidarity activities, I felt a personal need to create a bridge between the differing worlds of Judaism and western human rights which sometimes clash."
At Kibbutz Givat Brenner, students discussed the return of captives as portrayed in the Torah. In the presence of captured soldier Gilad Shalit's uncle, the students explored the moral dilemmas facing Israel regarding the price to be paid for the young Israeli Defense Force corporal's return.
Hundreds attend the largest Tikkun at Tel Aviv Museum
NIF Israel Executive Director Rachel Liel said, "The strength of the project was the cultural and social diversity of the communities participating and the geographical spread of the events covering the entire country. This made the Shavuot Tikkun a celebration of liberal and pluralistic thinking, which have been among the main values promoted by NIF for over 30 years."
In addition to the financial support given to the events, NIF provided study materials, also available in English, written by leading Secular, Reform, Orthodox and Conservative leaders.
Watch highlights from the Shavuot Tikkun event below.