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P'nai Or offers a wide variety of learning opportunities throughout the year. Workshop topics include Exploring Shabbat, Festivals, and High Holy Days, Shofar Blowing, Service Leadership, and Writing a Drash or D'var Torah. Check this page and our Events page regularly to learn what you can learn. 

Weekly Torah Discussion Every Shabbat morning at 9:15 AM a lively Torah study and discussion takes place in the P'nai Or Davenning Space. Led by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Maggid Melvin Metelits, and a rich variety of other P'nai Or members. Come delve more deeply in each week's parsha (reading for the week) with other G!dwrestlers.

Weekly Torah Class Our beloved Maggid Melvin Metelits hosts an hour-and-a-half Torah study each week on Thursday at 10:30 AM. Space is limited so please contact Melvin about joining this class.

Members may also join the P'nai Or listserv to receive timely event announcements.




A Sacred Journey: The Months of Spring – from Purim to Pesach

Excerpted from "Live With the Times,” by Rabbi Marcia Prager

In his preface to a paper on the Hasidic master, Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov, (d.1841) often called the B’nai Yissasschar, my colleague and friend Hillel Goelman wrote:

 

"We often conceive of the Jewish year as a progression of holidays/Holy Days … tied to historic episodes in our past …[or] tied to the seasonal periodicities of the earth. Certain Holy Days seem to stand alone, not tied to either. What [may be less evident is that] … the placement of the Holy Days throughout the year is a manifestation of an underlying Divine intention to make the Divine Presence manifest to our human understanding… the days themselves are not isolated oases in barren stretches of emptiness. They are heartbeats in an endless, continuing, rhythmic, pulsating flow that accompanies the breathing of the Divine Name in every moment of existence … Cosmic time, in the Jewish sense, is not a linear sequence of moments strung together… Time is a pulsating energy that ebbs, flows, and manifests in different ways … [and we] can attune to the divine energy suffusing time.”

 

Learning to walk the divine, energetic rhythms of the Jewish year and attuning one’s own inner rhythms to the cycles of sacred time can be of great value in growing our own souls.

Each month and each holy day calls on the soul to respond and take new risks, to feel the pulse of Divinity more strongly and open up to new possibilities.

New moons and full. Full moons and new. The cycle of the year carries us. Months are, as we see, quite literally tied to the moon. Each new moon inaugurates an energy shift we can learn to feel. Each month inaugurates both a new quality and a new experience of God to influence our actions.

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Jewish songwriter, author and poet Barry Louis Polisar has adapted and retold the Passover story in a concise but thorough way that not only tells the story, but gives the background on the spiritual origins of the holiday traditions. Explaining each ritual in a simple and straight-forward way, this Haggadah includes both the English, Hebrew and phonetic pronunciations of the holiday prayers, so that everyone gathered around the table can participate in the Seder; a welcoming and inclusive adaptation that captures the spirit of the holiday without compromising tradition. 

A Note about beginning the Seder early: The halachic conversation surrounding the timing of the Seder is dominated by those voices that forbid starting the Seder and reciting kiddush before nightfall. However there is an alternative tradition permitting starting the Seder early, but timing the end of Maggid to coincide with the emergence of stars, so that matzah is eaten after dark.  See: R. Yosef Molcho (In his work Shulhan Gavoah, he asserts that R. Ya’akov of Corbeil and all other rishonim only emphasize the importance of eating after dark and would in fact permit all prior parts of the Seder to be done earlier) and the Hatam Sofer (In his comments on Pesahim 99b he more actively permits starting Kiddush early and timing the end of the hagaddah for the emergence of stars.) As our own Hazzan Jack is a direct descendant of the Hatam Sofer, we opt to follow this ruling and permit beginning our Seders early (except when the Seder is Motzaei Shabbbat/ the end of Shabbat) although if candle-lighting and kiddush are reserved for after stars appear, there is some room for creative flexibility.