Shavuot Resources

Shavuot Resources

Holiday Overview
Shavuot begins Saturday, May 19 at sundown, and ends after sundown on Monday, May 21 (or Sunday May 20 in the Reform tradition). Shavuot literally means “weeks”. We count 7 weeks from Passover, which commemorates our physical Exodus from slavery, to Shavuot, which commemorates our spiritual commitment at the foot of Mt Sinai. It is there that we received the Torah as a unified people and acknowledge that the Torah was given to all Jewish people for all time.

Check out some more detailed information about the holiday here.

Ideas and Resources for Shavuot Study
1.    Read the Book of Ruth. The story connects us to our roots as an agricultural people and reminds us to take care of the stranger among us. You can access the text to the book of Ruth in Hebrew and English here. But don’t stop there! Play around on the Sefariah website and you can read any text there! Find yourself a study partner (Child? Spouse? Neighbor? and study away!)

2.    Review the Ten Commandments! Like Sefariah in the paragraph above, Mechon Mamre is another great source for Hebrew and English text. Think about the commandments and their implications for you today. This article can stimulate your thinking about their modern relevance.

3.    Study from amazing online educators!

>> Pardes is a non-denominational learning community based in Jerusalem where students grapple with classic texts. Check out the Pardes online learning site where you can study about Shavuot with their faculty. 

>>Rabbi David Fohrman offers a unique visual presentation and seeks to help viewers uncover personal layers of meeting in text. Challenge your perception of Shavuot here.

>>Various Reform Rabbis and educators share their encounters with sacred text in video and with study guides for Shavuot here.

>>Rabbi Mishael Zion is the Director of Education for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships and the author of the blog “text and the city”. He has this study guide for Shavuot. Rabbi Mishael Zion is the Director of Education for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships and the author of the blog “text and the city”. He has this study guide for Shavuot.

4.    Discover your roots! One of the reasons we read the Book of Ruth is that King David is her direct descendent. Shavuot is also one of the holidays during which we recite the yizkor prayer to remember family members who have passed away. You can learn about your own Jewish lineage on this website.

5.    Take a virtual tour of Jerusalem! Shavuot is one of three pilgrimage holidays (in addition to Passover and Sukkot). In ancient times, Jews traveled to Jerusalem for each of these holidays. The experience in Jerusalem was one of unity and joy. Go on a virtual tour here or here. The establishment of the State of Israel created a unique bond between the people working the land and this holiday. Check out this article about the history of flower crowns in Israel and remember to beautify your house with flowers!

6.    Jacob Richman is an amazing compiler of Jewish resources. Check out his list of cool Shavuot Videos as well as his 54 links, ranging from laws and customs to games and recipes about the holiday.

Family Resources for Shavuot
Shavuot is an often underplayed holiday, but for families with young children, there are many ways that the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai can be discussed and celebrated in their homes. Here are a few pages culled from the Internet with great ideas for how to approach Shavuot themes and values in your home through telling stories, creating crafts, and cooking (and eating!) together.

Shavuot Values for Preschoolers: An easy-to-understand overview of the Book of Ruth is followed by key Jewish values that the characters embody and how parents and young children can meaningfully and purposefully emulate them.

5 Easy, Cheesy Recipes to Make with Kids for Shavuot: Shavuot fare is often dairy, in part in reference to the Torah quotation "Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue" (Song of Songs 4:11). This page from PJ Library links to some delicious dairy delicacies to make with your children.

Shavuot Crafts Pinterest Page: Explore a “virtual bulletin board” full of fun and engaging Shavuot crafts from CJE Early Childhood Pinterest collection. 

Take the Jewish Trivia Quiz with a selection of multiple choice questions about Shavuot. Adults and children can enjoy this!

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