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Post-Shavuot Wrap Up

Jeremy Brown


The Shavuot weekend at KMS had something for everyone. There was parent-child learning for those in lower school, a middle school program, and a youth Tikkun through the night that included shiurim given by at least six high school students. Adults had opportunities to learn about kabbalat Hatorah in Pirkei Avot, the Jewish limits on free speech, and the growth mindset that is demonstrated in the Aseret Hadibrot. And lots, lots more.

Our scholars-in-residence – Dr. Michelle and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna – taught an incredible eleven times. They addressed an array of subjects, from the orientation of a sefer Torah when left in the aron and coping with Jewish anxiety,  to preparing high school students for their gap year and the importance of role models in Megillat Rut (and in some new movie called Black Panther, which is apparently quite good).

Then there was the food. The gala kiddush, the 1:00am pasta and soup bar, the ice cream parties that followed learning sessions for children in grades 1-8, and the BBQ for those in high school – which was, of course followed by a shiur.

But for me, the high point was the Social Hall at about 1am on the first night of Shavuot.  I stepped into the hall and the first thing I noticed was the remarkable noise. The sweet cacophony of the dozens of KMS youth – and several of their teachers – sitting and learning Torah with one another. In an instant it took me back to the only other time I have heard that very special sound: sitting in the beit midrash of my Yeshiva in the Old City of Yerushalayim, more than 30 years ago. The warm memories flooded back, and it made me happy.  Very happy.

I know that for many of you this is no big deal – because Shavuot at KMS has been like this for quite a while.  But I have not had the pleasure of being at KMS for Shavuot in five years, it was all quite new to me.  Perhaps it is the British poet William Cowper who best captured the magic that sounds can work:

“There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.”



Tue, September 22 2020 4 Tishrei 5781