Shavuot

Shavuot

Shavuot 2018 begins in the evening of Saturday, May 19 and ends in the evening of Monday, May 21.

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, and occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It is associated with the grain harvest in the Torah.

How is Shavuot celebrated?

Shavuot is observed by abstaining from work and attending synagogue services. A few special readings are recited: a liturgical poem called Akdamut, which emphasizes the greatness of God; the Book of Ruth, because the story highlights one woman’s choice to join the Jewish people and accept the Torah; and the Ten Commandments, in honor of the revelation of the Torah. It is also customary to study Torah all night; this practice is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

What kinds of foods are eaten on Shavuot?

Traditional holiday meals on Shavuot center around dairy foods. Milk is considered to be a symbol of the Torah, which nourishes the people directly, as milk does for a baby. Popular Shavuot foods include cheesecake, blintzes, and kugels. Some Sephardic Jews make a seven-layered bread called siete cielos (seven heavens), which is supposed to represent Mt. Sinai.

What is the proper greeting for Shavuot?

The greeting for Shavuot is simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday).