A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227

This Year’s Theme

5777 – Prayer

In 5777 Shir Tikvah focuses upon Tefilah – prayer, personal and communal. “All things pray”, taught Rabbi Nakhman of Bratslav; “all things lift up their souls.” What is prayer? What makes you want to pray? What do Jews pray for and why?

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KAVANAH (Mindfulness)

Shir Tikvah’s 5776 Learning Theme is Kavanah – Mindfulness. This year we seek to deepen our awareness of the place of Jewish ethics in our lives, and the way in which our Jewish identity guides and supports our actions in the world.   Sefirat HaOmer / Counting the Omer An Invitation to Mindfulness and Personal Growth From Tivona Reith and Shir Tikvah Starting the night of Saturday, April 23!   49 gates. 49 prisms. 49 days of spiritual harvest. 49 steps from liberation to revelation. The mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer / Counting the Omer has become for me one of the most meaningful spiritual practices of my life. It is a conscious act for 49 nights to bless and count, and for 49 days to look with focused awareness on myself, my place in the world, my ethical and spiritual relationships. Some years, I journal what reveals itself each day. Some years, I collage. […]

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Theme for 5775:  Coming of Age

Shir Tikvah Celebrates Our Bat Mitzvah Year As we prepare to mark our bat mitzvah, Congregation Shir Tikvah is excited to partner with other members of Portland’s Jewish community to offer opportunities  to learn about and properly care for sacred materials no longer in use.   Lecture by Oren Kosansky, Rabat Genizah Project May 6 Prof. Oren Kosansky spoke on  “Hidden Treasures: Lives and After lives of Jewish Texts,” in which he described his work with Jewish communities in Morocco.  In this talk, Dr. Kosansky considered the origins of the practice of placing worn texts in a Genizah, how this practice is an expression of the Moroccan Jews integrate the materials and spiritual experience of Jewish texts, and thought with Shir Tikvah about its approach to the genizah experience. Genizah b’Karka: Burial of Sacred Texts May 31, 11am at River View Cemetery Main Building 0300 SW Taylors Ferry Road (DIRECTIONS HERE) […]

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Our Annual Learning Theme

Jewish learning is iterative.  Thus, each year our Torah study begins its annual cycle with a section from Genesis, and then together we read forward through Exodus, then the long journey through the wilderness…  It’s a learning process by which we learn to see more in that which is familiar.   One tool for finding fresh insight in the text, and in our lives, is to bring a fresh lens—an annual learning theme– to our Torah discussions,  our communal celebrations and shared holy days.   Theme for 5774:  The Many Voices of Torah “There is an old saying, ‘If you turn Torah over and over, it has seventy different faces.’.. The Torah is often compared to a prism and if we keep turning it we can see everything. However, our own vision is always refracted by a perspective so the Torah never shows the one truth. Our commandments can be understood […]

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Learning Theme for 5773: Make the Minyan

The leaves are turning; the days are shorter; and one of these days it will cool off; fall is arriving next week. This is the season for turning, for considering our daily words and acts, and their impact. This is also the season, in this election year, for a considerable increase in political advertising, especially if you live in a swing state; the news today indicated that the total dollars spent in presidential campaign ads has just reached $450 million. But in all states, all the time, we are all bombarded with advertisements for things we should buy, and why. What they tell us about ourselves and our society is endlessly fascinating – and troubling. For example, there’s this advertisement for Amica insurance, and every time I see it, it makes me crazy. Maybe you’ve seen it too? Happy people are presented to the camera, one after the other, each […]

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Theme for 5772: It’s a Mitzvah!

In Yiddish, they’re called mitzves, and tradition says that there are 613 of them: 248 “thou shalts” and 365 “thou shalt nots”, one for every day of the year. The Jewish calendar follows the moon instead of the sun, though, and has only 354 days – a single Jewish year isn’t long enough to hold all the things we’re not supposed to do. These mitzves are the foundations of every aspect of Jewish life; in a very real sense, they are Judaism. You can be as monotheistic as you like, without the mitzves you’re still not Jewish. It’s the mitzves that forbid pork, enjoin circumcision, and keep us out of the Knights of Columbus; they are the root of Jewish difference, of everything that makes Jews Jewish. According to Rashi, whose commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are an integral part of traditional methods of study, ‘the whole point of […]

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