Shavuot literally means ‘weeks’, specifically the seven weeks counting from the second night of Passover.
Shavuot started as an agricultural holiday when the ‘first fruits’ of the spring barley harvest were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. It has since also come to signify the period of fleeing Egypt until receiving the Torah at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is tradition to read the Book of Ruth. It is often a time for new converts to be welcomed into the community, in honor of Ruth, Judaism’s first convert. Other traditions include all night Torah study – to commemorate receiving the Torah, and eating dairy foods – since the words of Torah are like ‘milk and honey’!
Shavuot often occurs after we have concluded our visits from our student rabbis, so only occasionally do we at TBI do something to commemorate this day. This year Rabbi Brett will be here to help us celebrate this festival holiday!