EREV SHAVUOT - "THE EARTH IS G-D'S; THE EARTH IS OURS"
Tuesday evening, May 14th at Congregation B'nai Israel
SCHEDULE: At 7:00 p.m. there will be a brief evening Ma'ariv service beginning with blessing of new babies. At 7:30 p.m. there will be a round-robin study with Rabbis, at 8:30 p.m. a community Torah discussion, at 9:15 p.m. feasting on cheesecake, and at 9:30 p.m. continuing study late into the evening! All are welcome for any part or all of the evening.
What is Shavuot? Shavuot, or "Weeks," celebrates the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and the theme is "revelation." It concludes the 3-festival cycle of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot outlined in the Torah. Shavuot always falls seven weeks after Passover and concludes the "Omer counting" period. The traditional way to bring in Shavuot is through studying aspects of Torah or Judaism beginning at night often called a "Tikkun Leil Shavuot" (or all night study until dawn), reading Ten Commandments if a morning service, and eating cheesecake and sweet dairy products - since Torah is likened to a land flowing with milk honey!
In ancient Temple times everyone caravaned by parade from all over the Land of Israel to the Temple in Jerusalem bringing baskets of their first-fruits as offerings, led by flute-players, and they were greeted outside the Temple gates by the king and treasurer who received the pilgrims (a great role for Sue Donelly our BA treasurer!).
In our times, Shavuot has become a time to recommit to Jewish life and affirm our connection to Torah, prophetic values and peoplehood. Reform congregations often have held a Confirmation service on Shavuot (culminating of a 10th grade Confirmation class with the Rabbi), something I would love to see on the horizon for Beit Ahavah.
Our URJ and Reform Judaism websites have some wonderful information and suggestions for family, learning, art and justice activities related to Shavuot, such as here http://www.reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/shavuot. Chag sameach - happy holiday!