At Central Synagogue

About the Holidays

Shavuot (“weeks” in Hebrew) is the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The holiday occurs seven weeks after Passover (usually in May or June on the secular calendar). Shavuot 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. One traditional component of Shavuot observance is called tikkun l’eil shavuot, which refers to a full night of study with the community (many stay up all night learning). It also is customary to eat dairy, especially cheese blintzes. Some say this represents Israel as “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Shavuot at Central

We observe Shavuot through festival and yizkor services, and by celebrating and honoring our confirmation (tenth grade) class. Each member of the class receives a personal blessing at the ark from a member of our clergy team on the Friday night closest to Shavuot. We call this their consecration. They also lead our Erev Shavuot service as a class. Shavuot morning includes a yizkor service, providing an opportunity to celebrate the holiday and also to recall those we have lost.

Shavuot 2020

May 29–30

For more information on services and events related to Shavuot this year, please click here.