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The Journey to Sinai - part 1

May 11, 2012

Tags: Sinai, Sinai poem, Shavuot, beit midrash, teaching resources, We All Stood Together, A Spiritual Life, revelation, women's experience, Standing at Sinai, Judith Plaskow

a poetry beit midrash

On Saturday night May 26 we will be celebrating Shavuot, the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. In the past few weeks as many of us count down to Sinai, I've been hard at work preparing for a webinar on May 21 sponsored by the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE), the professional organization of Reform Jewish educators. In the webinar I will lead NATE members through the steps of creating a poetry beit midrash in which a large group breaks off into two's or three's to intensively study a particular text. I've been doing this for a long time in synagogues, on campuses, at retreats - creating opportunities for intimate study and connection using my poetry as text. There's something about the accessibility, the emotional immediacy of my poetry which calls to be used in this way.

And so what will be the focus text for our beit midrash? - none other than my oft-anthologized Sinai poem, "We All Stood Together." (People inevitably confuse its title with the title of Judith Plaskow's book "Standing at Sinai" but that seems a natural mistake.) Though the poem is everywhere and the stories of its impact movingly abound, somehow I never teach this poem, so the webinar is actually for me a "shehechiyanu" moment. I've relished the preparation and look forward to posting the discussion prompts and reflections of our virtual conversation after the session.


  1. May 18, 2012 8:24 PM EDT
    Your poem is one of my favorites; it just resonates with me for some reason.
    I too am preparing a discussion about Shavuot using your poem as the base.
    - Barbara