Like Passover and Sukkot, Shavuot is an ancient pilgrimage, agricultural festival. Torah teaches that Shavuot
begins on the 50th day after the first day of Pesach. This is the date that our ancient rabbinic tradition
imagined that the children of Israel received the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
How do we observe and celebrate Shavuot at Reyim?
- We bring in the holiday with the blessing of l'hadlik ner shel yom tov and we add shehecheyanu.
- We decorate the synagogue and homes with greenery and fragrant flowers.
- We have a community Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, a Jewish mystical ritual of text study and celebration that
lasts late into the night.
- We eat dairy foods, particularly cheesecake and blintzes, symbolizing the fulfillment of God's promise
to bring the Children of Israel to a land flowing with milk and honey.
- Our morning services on the first day of Shavuot begin at 9:30 AM. As we read the Ten Commandments, we
will stand together and listen to the words of Torah as if we were standing at Sinai ourselves.
- During services on the first day of Shavuot, just prior to the Torah reading, we read the medieval poem
Akdamut, which describes how Jews maintained their faith in God despite persecutions throughout history.
- On the second day of Shavuot, we recite Yizkor. We have two services: an early service in our chapel
that begins at 6:45 AM, and a second service in the sanctuary that begins at 9 AM.
- We read the Book of Ruth. The book takes its name from the character Ruth the Moabite, who, after losing
her husband, returned with her mother-in-law Naomi to Naomi’s homeland in Bethlehem, and casts her
lot in with people of Judah, ultimately leading to her marriage to Boaz there. With Boaz, Ruth gives
birth to Obed, the father of Jesse, who according to tradition is the father of King David.
- We bring the festival to a close with Mincha/Maariv services,followed by havdalah.