Women take lead in Metairie Shavuot

The women will take center stage as three congregations along the Jewish corridor in Metairie get together for Shavuot.

Orthodox Beth Israel, Conservative Shir Chadash and Reform Gates of Prayer will have a “joint Torah venture” on May 14, on “Authority and Leadership in the Jewish World.”

Four female scholars from the three streams represented by the congregations will be on hand to led discussions. Alexis Pinsky is a third year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Sarit Horwitz is a third year student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Lila Kagedan and Victoria Sutton are students at Yeshivat Maharat.

At 7 p.m., Gates of Prayer will have its Confirmation service. At the same time, Beth Israel will have the afternoon service and study with Sutton. At 8 p.m., Shir Chadash will hold a minyan at Gates of Prayer, while Beth Israel has its evening service.

A community dairy dinner will follow at Beth Israel at 8:30 p.m. The dinner will be followed by a panel of the visiting scholars on “Wrestling with Authority: Texts we struggle with as future female spiritual leaders.” A cheesecake buffet will follow.

At 10 p.m. there will be breakout sessions with the scholars, followed by an 11 p.m. inter-denominational rabbinic panel consisting of Beth Israel Rabbi Uri Topolosky, Shir Chadash Rabbi Ethan Linden and Gates of Prayer Rabbi Robert Loewy. A gumbo buffet will follow.

At 12:30 a.m., Linden and Topolosky will lead a session on “our favorite texts,” followed by Kagedan speaking on Jewish bioethics at 1:30 a..m. Sutton will lead a session on “Do you believe in magic” at 2:30 a.m., followed by a 3:30 a.m. session with Topolosky on “Sleeping with the Enemy: Laws of the Mossad,” over whether it is ethical for female Mossad agents to use their charms on targets in the field.

Rabbi David Posternock will lead Torah Yoga at 4:30 a.m., followed by a 5:30 a.m. minyan. There will be no 9 a.m. minyan.

Reservations for dinner and the opening session are $15, $25 per couple or $30 per family by May 10.

Elsewhere in town, there will be all-night learning on May 14 at Chabad Uptown and Chabad Metairie. The Shavuot service on May 15 starts at 10 a.m., followed by an ice cream party and luncheon.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have a potluck dairy dinner in the garden pavilion at 7 p.m. on May 14, followed by Torah study in the chapel until 9 p.m., and then a “Sacred Moment of Torah” in the sanctuary at 9 p.m.

In Gulfport

Beth Israel in Gulfport will celebrate Shavuot with its annual cheesecake competition. The dinner and service will be May 15 at 7 p.m.

Those attending are asked to bring a dairy dish to share, and a cheesecake for the competition. Prizes will be awarded in best tasting, prettiest, low calorie, youth and judge’s choice.

Rededication/Conversion Panel

The Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot. As she converted to Judaism, that theme is often mentioned during the holiday. At Temple Beth Or in Montgomery, there will be a panel discussion on conversion and reaffirmation, with Kelly Capouya, Norman Dorosin and Merce Kennedy. One was born and reared in Judaism but followed a different path for many years; one rediscovered a Jewish family connection from past generations, and one converted to Judaism years ago.

The program, service and light dairy meal will be at 7 p.m. on May 14.

Across town, Montgomery’s Israel Shaliach, Ori Tal, will help lead study sessions at Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem on May 14 starting at 7:30 p.m.