Shir Tikvah, Portland Oregon
Torah - Learning Gemilut Hasadim - Social Action Avodah - Prayer Singing Meditation

Torah Study at Shir Tikvah

The Bible is a history of actions and events, and leaves to us, to each and every reader, the task of speculation, an exciting task but one that carries the risks of exaggeration and fantasy. Nevertheless, let us dare to do, in the pages that follow, what many generations of readers before us have done, men and women who have read the spare biblical text according to their faith, the conventions of their age, and their own personal inclinations, and attached meanings and conclusions (and sometimes wishes and delusions) to every word and syllable.

- David Grossman, Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson

TIME: Every Shabbat morning at 9-10:30am

PLACE: The basement of Bridgeport

Shir Tikvah recognizes Jewish learning as intrinsic to Jewish life, and so we study Torah each week.  Bring your own copy of the Torah, or Humash, ideally with Hebrew and translation. Shir Tikvah provides coffee; there’s a sign-up list for a different Torah student to bring bagels for all each week.

Shir Tikvah was born out of Torah study, and Torah study at Shir Tikvah goes from strength to strength. For 75 minutes every Shabbat morning, between 35 and 50 people gather to consider the parashat hashavua (the Torah reading of the week), to go through it verse by verse, ask questions, compare impressions, and learn by immersing ourselves in both the text and in the experience of learning it together. Adults of all ages and backgrounds bring their insights and questions to create a learning synergy which nurtures the individual spiritual search, but also does more.

Shir Tikvah’s Torah study is an expression of the realization that spirituality is not only about the fulfillment of an individual need. What we’ve discovered as we have built this congregation is that although we may decide to join and to participate because it fits our individual needs, once we are involved, we realize that our personal spirituality is nurtured by the experience of belonging to a meaningful community.

Our Shabbat morning Torah study is the center of our congregation; it is the place where we work out what it means to be a Jew, and what it means to each one of us to be a Jew in community.

No one is there every week, but there’s always a group. Not everyone talks, but there’s always a group discussion. Not every parasha brings an “aha!” moment, but you never know – it could be this one. Not every week brings a human connection, but somehow over time it happens: we become people who care about each other. Our learning community begins to generate energy that nurtures each one of us who participate in it.

Torah study – the learning and growing community – occurs every Shabbat morning. The energy of Torah study and the friendships developed through it offer our members a path toward becoming a kehillah kedoshah, a “holy community”: a place of mutual respect and commitment for each other as well as for the values we seek to live.

Do not say, “When I have leisure, I will study.” Perhaps you will have no leisure. (P. Avot 2.4)

Q & A

What does “The Torah of Moses” mean? Click here for the answer (link).

Other Links

Reconstructionist D’vrei Torah (link)

Reform Voices of Torah (link)

Torah from Jewish Theological Seminary (link)

Women’s Commentary (Reform) (link)

Torah Queeries: Weekly Queer Torah Commentary (link)

Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning (link)

New Jersey Jewish News: Touch of Torah (link)

Chabad (link)