Tikkun Leil Shavuot started at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike almost two decades ago and has expanded each year in its breadth and diversity.
But like many other events globally, the COVID-19 pandemic forced coordinators to transition Tikkun Leil Shavuot to a social distancing-approved online format.
Now called Tikkun@Home, prerecorded presentations on topics ranging from traditional text study, literature, art, history and ethics will be available at bnaijeshurun.org/tikkun_at_home on May 26, two days before Shavuot begins.
The event has long honored Tikkun@Home chair Harriet Rosenberg Mann’s parents.
“My mother moved to Cleveland and became a very active member of B’nai Jeshurun and attended this event her whole life and was actually the oldest participant until she passed away,” Rosenberg Mann said. “Even before she passed away, we knew she loved this event. So my family established the Estelle & Dr. Milton Rosenberg Tikkun Leil Shavuot Study Session Fund.”
The Shaker Heights resident said her parents valued the breadth of topics presented and the event brings together diverse people from across Northeast Ohio.
“We really felt that by still offering this event that was cosponsored by so many different organizations and such a diverse group of presenters, that we were trying to offer a message of unity and faith and gratitude while we face this global pandemic that has made everybody re-imagine every aspect of their life,” Rosenberg Mann said. “This event really has come to be known as a premier opportunity to study with clergy and educators and community leaders, and we still wanted to offer that.”
There will be 32 prerecorded presentations available, including one from Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO of the Cleveland Jewish News and president of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, which will discuss covering community news during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosenberg Mann said in previous years, the event had two main expenses: food and security.
“When we decided to do it prerecorded, as opposed to something live, we really did not want to sacrifice quality,” Rosenberg Mann said. “We decided to hire a professional videographer so that all of the presentations, all of the lessons that our presenters were willing to record, were done professionally.”
Rabbi Hal Rudin-Luria said he hopes the event’s online format will lend itself to longevity.
“Hopefully, everyone will watch it either during the holiday or right before the holiday,” he said. The congregation has yet to finalize which video platform it will use, but “it will be hosted (online) for a long time as well as on our congregational website, until we decide to archive it.”
Rudin-Luria said some participants modified their presentations to speak about the pandemic, while others stuck with their favorite topic.
“I always tell teachers, ‘I want you to present your best class, something that you’re passionate about,’ ... because that always gets communicated to the learner,” he said. Prior to the pandemic, the in-person event included conversation and discussion in a class format.
“That’s missing, but the expression that I see is: everyone’s shared their Torah,” Rudin-Luria said. “We all have Torah inside of us, we all have the lessons that we’ve learned both from personal experience, but also from our own study. This format allows for 32 presentations of Torah and that’s what Shavuot is about.”
Co-sponsors are: the Cleveland Jewish News, Dobres-Berkowitz Israel Programming Fund, Gross Schechter Day School, Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, Congregation Shaarey Tikvah, Beth El – The Heights Synagogue, Beth Israel – The West Temple, Blu, the Restaurant, Cleveland Hillel Foundation, Cleveland Partnership Minyan, Hillel at Kent State University, jHUB, Mitsui Collective, Suburban Temple – Kol Ami, Temple Am Shalom, Temple Beth Shalom and Temple Emanu El.