Tikkun Leil Shavuot

June 11, 2024    
8:15 pm - 11:00 pm

“Jewish Learning Journeys: Personal Stories and Favorite Texts”
Join us on Shavuot evening for 8:15 pm festive Ma’ariv then our annual TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT featuring a panel of congregants with unique backgrounds. They will each share about their Jewish learning journeys and talk about Torah and textual ideas from the Jewish tradition that inspire them. We gather in the library for the Tikkun (study on Shavuot) and then eat ice cream, cheescake (non-dairy options, too) desserts to sweeten the holiday and celebrate together.

The Panelists

Miranda Platcow
Miranda grew up in a totally secular family on the Upper West Side, surrounded by Jews, but disconnected from any Jewish community or education. Her mother, the child of Chinese immigrants, brought her brother and Miranda to Chinese school every Saturday morning, but her Jewish father z”l had no interest in religious affiliation or education for his children. Miranda was nonetheless always interested in Judaism in an ethno-cultural sense, and when she arrived at West Point as a 17-year-old, she was shocked by its overt, devout Christianity and fled straight to the Hillel. There she found Jewish community and learning for the first time. Upon graduation, she had the opportunity to go to graduate school, and chose Tel Aviv University somewhat by chance. Upon arriving, she immediately fell in love with Israel, learned Hebrew, and developed a strong secular Jewish identity. Though she was based in Tel Aviv, she always felt pulled to the deep spirituality and profundity of Jerusalem, and spent her last few months in Israel living there and attending the Pardes Institute. It only took a month of full-time learning for her secular Jewish identity to begin transforming into a religious one, and she started taking on mitzvot and leading an observant life. She returned to the US a religious Jew on active duty, and while stationed in North Carolina, decided to formally convert under the supervision of a rabbi both to change her halakhic status, as her mother was not Jewish, and to mark the culmination of the religious transformation she had undergone. When she moved back to New York, she was ready to fully participate in a religious community, and her wife Alissa, then her girlfriend, directed her toward Or Zarua, where she knew Miranda would find a home.

Ari Roytenberg
Ari was born in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, New York in 1989 a few months after his parents immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. They came as refugees under the Jackson-Vanik amendment that allowed Jews to escape the Soviet Union. Like many Soviet Jews, the family practiced Judaism very sporadically. They rarely went to Synagogue, Ari never had a Bar Mitzvah, and they celebrated holidays with vodka and caviar, rather than wine and brisket. Nonetheless, he grew up with a strong sense of his Jewish identity. Everyone in his family was proud of being Jewish and discussions and debates regarding the significance of Jewish history were commonplace. That said, he lacked almost entirely a religious education and by the time he was graduating college, he was an inveterate atheist. Things began to change, however, when he met his wife, Madeleine. Though she herself grew up in a religiously splintered family and also rarely practiced Judaism, they were both drawn to philosophical and political ideas. Their relationship flourished over discussions regarding religion and morality. And as they began to make plans for their future together, they decided they would raise their children with Judaism as the cornerstone of their moral upbringing. In the last few years, they searched for a Synagogue that they could join and steadfastly began educating themselves. A few days after October 7th, they walked into Or Zarua for a Friday service, and after meeting Rabbi Bolton that evening, they instantly knew they found a home. They began taking weekly lessons with Rabbi Bolton and since then, he has presided over their newborn son’s bris and mikveh. Ari’s journey to Judaism feels like it has just begun but he feels like he couldn’t have found a better community to guide him and his family through it.

Rana Arons Silver
Rana Arons Silver was born and raised in Manhattan. Her family observed the Holidays and belonged to a conservative synagogue but Judaism was, for the most part, cultural rather than religious.
Rana is a graduate of Skidmore College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Professionally, she was the West Coast Editor of US magazine and worked as writer/PR for Consumer Reports.
Rana’s Hebrew and Jewish education began at age 50. She attended Drisha Yeshiva, studying primarily Tanach with Rabbi David Silber and Rachel Friedman. To her great surprise, Rana fell in love with the study of Jewish texts. It’s a continuing love affair.