This year the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (literally, the festival of weeks) which celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, falls on May 17-18. We wanted to give our readers a heads up on what Shavuot means and how you might observe it here in Atlanta.
What’s it all about? Shavuot falls seven weeks after Passover at the end of the counting of the Omer. In biblical times, Shavuot was one of three pilgrimage festivals in which all the Jewish men would go to Jerusalem and bring their first fruits (usually grain) as offerings to God. Today, we celebrate Shavuot by going to synagogue to hear the recitation of the Ten Commandments and the Book of Ruth. Check the websites of individual synagogues to see what they have planned for Shavuot this year.
Holiday Highlights & Traditions: Many people invite friends for festive meals of dairy foods which evoke the nourishment of the Torah as “mother’s milk.” Blintzes filled with cheese are the quintessential Ashkenazi Shavuot treat. Some Sephardi Jews serve flaky cheese-filled pastries called bourekas.
- Monday, May 17, join the Chabad Intown Community for Thou Shalt Eat Ice Cream, an outdoors ice cream party. Gather at Chabad Intown on the BeltLine (outdoors) at 5:30 pm to hear the Ten Commandments followed by ice cream, snacks, and a light dinner for the kids! This event is free of charge. RSVP here.
Stay Up Late & Learn: Many people follow the custom of staying up all night to study Torah texts, including mystical tractates of the Zohar where the tradition of midnight study comes from.
- Sunday, May 16, the Atlanta Rabbinical Association will offer a free virtual Evening of Shavuot Learning, 6 pm to midnight. Choose from a wide range of sessions featuring teachers from across the community and representing multiple points of view. Registration is required.