Shavuot: Shavuot is a two-day holiday which celebrates the spring harvest in the land of Israel and, beginning in rabbinic times, the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai.
The name Shavuot means “weeks,” as the holiday falls seven weeks after Passover, and is seen as concluding it. How so? On Passover we got out of oppression in Egypt; on Shavuot, we reasserted our right to freedom of worship and concluded a ברית, a brit, a covenant, with G!d.
We read the story of the biblical Ruth, who helped save Naomi and Elimelech’s family by joining the Jewish people, accepting the covenant, and working the harvest to sustain the family.
At CAH, we host a community-wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a traditional study session to show our eagerness to receive the Torah again in our lives, along with a community dinner, singing, poetry, and services. We include dairy desserts, following a longstanding Shavuot tradition.
We also hold services on both mornings of Shavuot. On the first morning, we read the Ten Commandments from the Torah, “reenacting” what occurred at Mt. Sinai centuries ago. On the second morning, we again recite Yizkor (community memorial service for deceased loved ones) and read from the book of Ruth. At all services, we include special readings, poetry, songs, and more.