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Scholar in Residence Weekend
With JTS Rabbinical Student Sass Orol Brown
Friday, December 3 & Saturday, December 4, 2021

Save the date for this meaningful and inspiring Shabbat offering a voice and approach that is different from our congregation's usual Scholar-in-Residence experience. 

Click here to register for any and all of the weekend's events!


About our Scholar

Sass Orol Brown is a second-year rabbinical student at JTS. Before starting school in 2020, Sass grew up and worked in North Carolina. In their home community in Raleigh, Sass ran youth groups and programs for their home shul, taught Jewish music at the shul's preschool and at their local JCC day camp, and organized with Carolina Jews for Justice. Sass also completed an MFA in Creative Writing and taught English at NCSU. Sass is passionate about words, tunes, and rituals, and hopes to continue to lead with a sense of literary, musical inheritance, and creativity.

In the Spring of 2020, Sass taught an original text curriculum to trans students at NC colleges and universities. Their first book of poems, The Shortest Skirt in Shul, is forthcoming from Ben Yehuda Press in late 2021. In the 20-21 school year, Sass began working as an inaugural Slifka-Nadich Rabbinical Intern with USY, supporting religious education and tefilah programming. They're also working as an advisor for USY first Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, and Mizrahi cohort. Sass is a member of the first JTS Gender, Torah, and Tradition Fellowship.



Friday, December 3

  • 6:00 PM (note earlier time) - Shabbat services and Hanukkah lecture titled Particle, Wave, Delight - A Close Look at what “Light” Means in Torah. Light is a central metaphor in Jewish text: Torah and happiness are called light, and so is God. Friday Night of Shabbat Hanukkah is the perfect time to think about its varied meanings.
    Light hors d'oeuvres will be served following services.

Saturday, December 4

  • 9:00 AM - Shabbat / Hanukkah morning services
  • 10:45 AM - Sermon titled Do Looks Matter? - Rabbinic Teachings About Joseph. Did you know Joseph is the only man called "beautiful" in the Torah?  How does the description of his appearance connect to his detailed story arc in our tradition?
  • 12:00 PM - Kiddush
  • 12:30 PM - Following Kiddush, learn with Sass Orol Brown Kiddush Conversation: Gender and Jewish Community. Sass is a member of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s first Gender, Torah, and Tradition cohort. Come for an open conversation about how current rabbinical students and newly ordained rabbis are working on contemporary gender discourse, and how Sass’s personal teachings and art connect.
  • 4:30 PM - Mincha service
  • 5 PM - Nosh & Schmooze
  • 5:15 PM - Study with Sass Orol Brown: Ben Ish Hai, Iraqi Halakhah. Rabbi Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad's Halachic work, The Ben Ish Hai, is unique because it blends sermon and law. Come and study the week’s chapter, and gain new insight into how Jewish law can work.
  • 6:15 PM - Ma'ariv / Havdalah / Hanukkah Candlelighting

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Please contact Rabbi Heller at for more information about sponsorships.

Thank You to our Generous Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor
The Rabbincal School and The Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Lead Sponsors
Harold and Eugene Cohn
The Seidband Scholar in Residence Fund

Supporting Sponsors
Karen Grant
Mona Sorkin Shuman


Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782