We appreciated Andrew Goldstein’s article on this year’s wonderful Tikkun Leil Shavuot program.
I wanted to bring to your attention some omissions and clarifications.
The author did not speak with the organizers of the program. Nowhere is it mentioned that the Agency for Jewish Learning organized the program, with support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center. He also did not note that there were more than a dozen synagogues that were active partners in sponsoring and promoting the program.
Also omitted was that Cantor Rick Berlin is from Parkway Jewish Center, and Cantor Ben Rosner is from Beth Shalom.
The article notes that: “As the evening wore on, audiences grew thinner as people began to disperse. By the start of the third session, much of the crowd that had been eager to begin at 10 p.m. went their separate ways.”
We count participation during each session. During the first session, there were 300 plus people, during the second, 400 plus, and during the third, 250 plus learners. There is a flow during the night, with people coming and going at all hours, so the total was approximately 500 people, the largest attendance we have had in the four years of the program. Many people did not arrive until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. Also, many participants went on from the JCC to participate in all night learning at Beth Shalom, Kollel, Shaare Torah, Yeshiva and other smaller gatherings.
Pittsburgh’s Tikkun is unique in the way that it brings people together across denominations, and in the percentage of the community that participates.
Thank you again for the prominent coverage of this unique gathering that brings our community together each year.
(The author is the executive director of the Agency for Jewish Learning.)