Festival of Shavuot in Israel

Filed in Judaism by on 05/05/2013 2 Comments
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Shavuot in Israel

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost) celebrates the giving of the Law, Matan Torah, when all the Jewish people, standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai, miraculously heard the voice of G‑D declaring the Ten Commandments. In addition to this momentous occasion, Shavuot is also an agricultural festival marking the wheat harvest.

Children Celebrating Shavuot

Children Celebrating Shavuot (Photo: ארכיון ניר אליהו, CC BY 2.5)

Two special loaves of bread lechem ha’panim or  “bread of the Presence” (the show bread) were dedicated in the Temple at Jerusalem on Shavuot. Shavuot falls on the 50th day of the counting of the omer that began the second night of Passover. Shavuot is one of the three holidays called aliyat ha’regel whereby Jewish men have to come up to Jerusalem – the others are Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and Pesach (Passover).

It is traditional on Shavuot to read the book of Ruth in synagogues, that tells of the love story between Ruth and Boaz, the grandparents of King David.

It is a custom for Jews to eat foods made of dairy products on the holiday of Shavuot. Milk and honey symbolize the land of Israel “flowing with milk and honey.” Bakeries and cheese shops are full of delicious treats like cheese cakes, blintzes, cheese borekas and more. Israel is also full of places to sample culinary treats like goat and cheese farms.

This year Shavuot falls on May 15, 2013. There are several events and festivals taking place at this time:

It is customary among religious Jews to stay up all night Learning Torah on Shavuot in synagogues, yeshivas and at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Baked Cheesecake for Shavuot

Baked Cheesecake for Shavuot (Photo: zingyyellow…!, CC BY 2.0)

One such free all night study event will be held in the outdoor courtyard of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem on May 14. There will also be tours of the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall by Tower of David museum guides.

Tsippori Forest Cooking Outing for Children, Lower Galilee, Friday May 17, 2013 at 10:00 am.

This gives parents and children the chance to hike along forest trails while gathering ingredients to prepare a holiday meal. Registration must be in advance to the JNF KKL Hotline: 1800-350-550.

Milk and Honey Hebrew Music Festival, Emek Yizrael (Jezreel Valley), May 9-18, 2013.

This Hebrew music festival features Israeli singers and dancers. For further information and to order tickets phone: (04) 604-0575.

Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival, May 14-18, 2013.

Abu Gosh in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem hosts two annual vocal music festivals at Sukkkot (Tabernacles) and Shavuot (Pentecost) in two churches known for their fabulous acoustics. Some of the highlights of this year’s Shavuot festival are concerts of Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Amadeus by Mozart, Bach and Handel Praise and Psalms, Brahms German Requiem and Halleluya, a concert of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan songs and more. To purchase tickets in advance phone: *9066 (Tel Aviv), (02) 623-7000 (Jerusalem). During the festival tickets can also be purchased directly at the churches (cash only).

Did You Know?

King David, the author of  the majority of Tehillim (Psalms), was born and 70 years later, died on Shavuot.

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