Search Google Appliance


This Isn't Your Parents' Shavuot
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 7:00pm to Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 7:00pm

Date: May 13, 2011
Contact: Loren Spielman, assistant professor of Classical Judaism and Schusterman Teaching Fellow of the Harold Schntizer Family Program in Judaic Studies, (503) 725-2035,

This isn't your parents' Shavuot

PSU's Judaic Studies celebrates the spring harvest festival at a club with an NYC band and text study

You've never experienced Shavuot like this.

The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University introduces the First Fruits Festival, a mixed-media event combining cutting-edge Jewish music with Torah-centered text study. Created by assistant professor of Classical Judaism and Schusterman Teaching Fellow Loren Spielman, the event is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, whose mission is to invest in creative individuals to nurture a vibrant and enduring Jewish identity, culture and community.

The Woods, a new club located in a renovated funeral parlor in historic Sellwood, is playing host to First Fruits on June 8, the second night of the spring harvest festival. This year's First Fruits debuts a two-fold use of Jewish music: To encourage greater interest in Jewish arts events and learning; and engage more people in the local Jewish community.

New York trio "Girls in Trouble" will headline this event. The band has just released its second album on J-Dub Records.

A poet, composer, classically trained violinist and current recipient of the prestigious Six Points Fellowship, lead singer Alicia Jo Rabbins uses music to investigate the convergence of spirituality, tradition and the contemporary Jewish experience. Rabbins is accompanied on bass by her husband Aaron Hartman.

Rabbins, who has a master's in Women's Studies from the Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in her most recent work sings original ballads and modern folksongs from the perspective of marginalized female figures in the Torah.

With the help of Rabbins' band, First Fruits will put a contemporary spin on the traditional Tikkun Leil Shavuot -- a Shavuot evening of study -- a practice that dates to the mid-1500s. Jews traditionally have participated in this late-night study fortified with food, drink and celebration. To commemorate this practice, the First Fruits Festival will feature late-night learning sessions on some of the holiday’s major themes.

The evening at The Woods – for adults age 21 and over – will include a couple local bands in addition to "Girls in Trouble."

On June 8, come hungry: To listen, learn, nosh (dairy) and drink.

Newest Tikkun on the Block
First Fruits Festival

The Woods, 6637 Milwaukie Ave., (503) 890-0408;
June 8, second night of Shavuot. Doors open at 7 p.m.; the final study session will end early June 9.
$7 at the door. Advance tickets available via

To hear "Girls in Trouble," click to and

For more information: Judaic Studies at (503) 725-2305, or Prof.