Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks” and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life.
At Berith Sholom, we focus on the tradition of learning (tikkun leyl Shavuot). Though we don’t stay up all night, we do study late into the evening, often with other local synagogues. Since it’s a great opportunity for interfaith learning, we have also shared studies with Muslim friends in the community.