Visions of Sinai

From Revelation to Inspiration

May 21st - June 10th

Where were you 2,500 years ago? According to the sages of the Torah, all Jews - whoever existed and were yet to be born - all stood together at Sinai. Did you hear the lightning? See the thunder? Something...something happened, was communicated, intuited, revealed   something that would remain with us through exhile and return, through the ceaseless cycle of the seasons and generations. From that moment on, the concept of revelation continues to challenge, mystify and inspire. Join CBI as we engage with the concept of revelation in honor of Shavuot. Visions of Sinai is about our collective awakening, as depicted in art and poetry created by members of the Asheville Jewish community - young and old, professionals and novices. After all, we all were there, weren't we? 

The Art of Revelation

These pieces have been created by artists (both professionals and hobbyists) from the Asheville Jewish community. You can pause the slide show at any time in order to spend time with a piece by placing your cursor over the image. For more on the artists' journey in creating of these pieces, come to the Visions of Sinai Coffeehouse Open Mic Nite on Wednesday, May 29th. (See below for details.) 

Coffeehouse Open Mic Night

Wednesday May 29th, 6-9pm

This 60s-styled Coffeehouse Open Mic Nite brings revelation to the stage. Got a poem, personal story or inspirational thought to share? Come and present, you're amongst friends Each participant is asked to limit their presentation to five minutes. The show is open to all ages and all members of the Jewish community.

In addition, you'll have a chance to hear from the artists and get an inside look into their creative processes. snacks and drinks will be available with any funds going to benefit CBI's Youth Education Program (YEP). 

Sign up to participate 


Visions of Sinai: The written word

Below are inspirational and educational thoughts and ideas, both poetry (left) and posts (right) gleaned from various sources, and intended to help give meaning to your celebration of Shavuot. 

Holaich VeChazaik

Holaich VeChazaik
(Growing Ever Stronger)

- Yossi Huttler

follow the lines down
pages flowing
back through ages
commentary to makor
pasuk, word, letter
even to the Pintele Yid
echo an ancient shofar
blast growing while blowing
announcing a Decalogue
introducing a dialogue
that will never leave mouths
debating, deliberating
in the din of batei medrush
attempting to divine the Divine

We All Stood Together

We All Stood Together

By Merle Feld

for Rachel Adler

My brother and I were at Sinai
He kept a journal
of what he saw
of what he heard
of what it all meant to him

I wish I had such a record
of what happened to me there

It seems like every time I want to write
I can’t
I’m always holding a baby
one of my own
or one for a friend
always holding a baby
so my hands are never free
to write things down

And then
As time passes
The particulars
The hard data
The who what when where why
Slip away from me
And all I’m left with is
The feeling

But feelings are just sounds
The vowel barking of a mute

My brother is so sure of what he heard
After all he’s got a record of it
Consonant after consonant after consonant

If we remembered it together
We could recreate holy time
Sparks flying

You are here to receive this prophecy

You are here to receive this prophecy

by Hannah Stephenson

You are here to receive this prophecy,
I am so certain of this I would wager life on it.

Get open, fast. Get to the highest point
available, that hill, for example. Even better,

the tree on top of the hill. Clamber up,
go on. Do what the branches do, reach up,

tilt your face to the clouds. Now you wait.
Prepare to hear. You never know what the voice

will sound like, perhaps not a voice. Maybe
like a current of electricity sizzling, sparking,

or the snap of knuckles cracking. A slide whistle
or kazoo—don’t laugh, it could happen.

How would that look, God talking to you,
you laughing it up in a tree on a hilltop.

Be a lightning rod, an antenna. Reception
can be active, you know. Think of a dancer

being lifted, all her muscles tightening
around her bones. She is lighter for how she

lifts herself, gets smaller, more powerful.
Call the message to you, show you can

be trusted to hear and hold it. Don’t even think
of coming down from there, you just wait.

You stay up in that tree, listening. The words
will come to you, they will, they will.

Waves of Torah

Waves of Torah

By Devon Spier

I saw the ocean unfolding.
But really it was Torah.
Its pages going on forever.
And the weight of its history like the finality of its black ink.
Darkly, pulling me under.
But there in the sea of story,
I found light in the spaces between the letters
And in the blank parchment, I swear, I could hear our ancestors breathing with me.
Parting the waters through their exhale
Extending the scroll through the letters they took in at the mouth.
I saw the Torah unfolding.
But really it was the ocean made by each of us.
Carrying the scroll through the waves of our breathing.