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The Jewish festival of Shavuot – literally meaning “weeks – originally began as a pilgrimage festival seven weeks after Passover that marked the beginning of the summer wheat harvest.
Rabbinic tradition teaches that when God spoke at Sinai, the world was silenced - birds did not sing, breezes did not rustle leaves in the trees. Out of that profound silence came the word, and were the world silent again, for even an instant, we could hear the everlasting echo of God's voice.
One of the great examples of Reform Jewish thinking, some 2,000 years before there was anything called Reform Judaism, regards the Festival of Shavuot.
Do you love to make special foods for the Jewish holidays? Shavuot (which starts at sundown on June 3rd this year) can really inspire creativity in the kitchen. Or, if you prefer, it can be extremely simple.
There are various explanations for why this particular date is special. One suggests that a plague that caused the death of thousands of Rabbi Akiva's students ended on Lag BaOmer.
After Passover, we noticed that our 11-year-old son disappeared after school for hours at a time. When we asked him about what he was doing, he divulged few details.
The Jewish mystics of the 17th century, the Kabbalists, created a special ritual—modeled after the Passover seder—to celebrate God's presence in nature. Today in modern Israel, Tu BiShvat has become a national holiday, a tree planting festivaTu BiShvat is not mentioned in the Torah. Scholars believe the holiday was originally an agricultural festival, corresponding to the beginning of spring in Israel. But a critical historical event helped Tu BiShvat evolve from a simple celebration of spring to a commemoration of our connection to the land of Israel. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the exile that followed, many of the exiled Jews felt a need to bind themselves symbolically to their former homeland. Tu BiShvat served in part to fill that spiritual need. Jews used this time each year to eat a variety of fruits and nuts that could be obtained from Israel. The practice, a sort of physical association with the land, continued for many centuries.l for both Israelis and Jews throughout the world