The other day, I attended an event celebrating the accomplishments of a local Jewish Day School. It is the school my children attend, the Golda Och Academy in West Orange NJ. One of the local Rabbis, Rabbi Alan Silverstein from Caldwell, NJ, shared a D'var Torah helping everyone connect the academic achievements of the school to the upcoming holiday of Shavuot. This holiday begins tomorrow night and is the time we reconnect to Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah and the Revelation at Mt. Sinai. In his D'var Torah, Rabbi Silverstein spoke about the Kaddish D'Rabbanan - the special Kaddish said after completing a unit of study. It is similar to other forms of the Kaddish that we know from our liturgy but it adds one special paragraph as follows:
I remember first learning about this Kaddish many years ago and I recall classes in Rabbinical School that concluded each lesson with this prayer. One verse that speaks to me personally is when we thank not only our teachers, but also their students and the students of their students. This is another expression of L'dor VaDor
- seeing Jewish learning as part of Jewish continuity; recognizing that we learn in order to teach and prepare the next generation.
Perhaps we should all say this prayer this weekend. As we prepare again for the events at Sinai, as we consider joining the congregation for the special Tikun Layl Shavuot
- the special night of great learning that will begin at 7 PM on Saturday night here at TJC, as we participate in our Siyyum Tichon Confirmation service also on Saturday night that honors our Tenth Grade Class and their commitment to Jewish Learning, we all can think about our teachers and the valuable lessons they taught us.
Shavuot is a time when we all go back to Sinai, to the moment of Revelation, a moment that can be the foundation of our own Jewish learning. We have many educational opportunities in our community both in the synagogue and all over this vibrant area. My prayer for Shavuot, is that all of us find time for our own personal learning and that these experiences reinvigorate us and inspire us to continue to search for answers and to find connections to our sacred texts and traditions.
I hope to see you over the weekend - on Shabbat or on Shavuot. I think it is going to be a great weekend here at TJC.
and Chag Sameach
Rabbi Adam Feldman