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Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the gift of the Torah on Mount Sinai and helps us to follow the Torah's teachings and be influenced by the wisdom of Jewish history.

The Hebrew term for "weeks" is Shavuot, and Shavuot falls seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, started as a harvest festival marking the conclusion of the spring barley harvest and the start of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient Israel, Shavuot was an ancient pilgrimage festival during which Israelites took crop offerings to Jerusalem's Temple. It is now a festival of Torah, education, and the ability to actively participate in Jewish life.


On Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of Torah. God brought us out of slavery so that we might be given the gift of Torah, which in turn we would share with the world. The reading for this day includes the Ten Commandments, re-enacting this climactic moment in Jewish history and establishing the covenantal relationship between God and the Jewish people. It is traditional for the Book of Ruth to be read on Shavuot. The story of Ruth takes place during the harvest, which reminds us that Shavuot is also a Festival, when our ancestors brought the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple. Ruth, by converting to Judaism, reminds us that each of us makes the choice to accept Torah into our lives. The reading of Ruth has served to elevate the status of converts (Jews-by-Choice) in Reform Judaism.


On Shavuot, we remember the spring harvest and the ancient practice of taking the first fruits to the Temple by decorating with greens and new flowers. The decorations also recall the legend that the Israelites discovered Mount Sinai blooming with flowers and greenery when they arrived.

On Shavuot, many Jews cook and enjoy dairy food, such as cheesecake or blintzes, as a reminder of the sweetness of Torah, as a reminder that the Torah refers to Israel as a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8). On holidays, many families get together to celebrate a meal that includes these dishes.

browned top of a souffle

Try this traditional Shavuot recipe for 

Grandma Lucille's Blintz Souffle


fluffy slice of cheesecake with a slice of lemon as garnish

Or how about this classic...

Italian Cheesecake


Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyar 5784