The holiday of Shavuot celebrates the anniversary of the Jewish people receiving the Torah—the ancient text of history, laws, and values that has shaped Jewish ethics and peoplehood. We invite you to enrich your celebration of Shavuot by joining us for these community events and services open to the general public:
Women of the Torah: A Musical Shavuot Experience
Wednesday, May 17, 7:30–9:30 pm, In-Person (Pavilion) & Virtual (Zoom)
Be transported by Alicia Jo Rabins' beautiful song cycle about the inner lives of Biblical women – and how their complicated experiences resonate with our own. Rabins (who records and performs as Girls in Trouble) creates a unique blend of performance and text study offer an intimate and accessible window onto the humanity of these ancient women as we prepare for Shavuot.
Confirmation and Erev Shavuot Service
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 6:00 pm, In Person (Sanctuary), Livestream
We come together to celebrate this year’s Confirmation class as they lead our community in prayer and affirm their commitment to living a Jewish life.
Shavuot Yizkor Service
Friday, May 26, 2023, 9:30 am, In Person (Sanctuary), Livestream
We will convene for a special Shavuot morning service that will include moving yizkor (remembrance) liturgy. This service will be led by Cantor Dan Mutlu and Rabbi Mo Salth.
Shavuot (“weeks” in Hebrew) is the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and falls seven weeks after Passover (usually in May and/or June). Shavuot began as an agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and actively choosing to participate in Jewish life. One traditional component of Shavuot observance is called Tikkun Leeil Shavuot, and refers to a full night of study with the community (many stay up all night learning). It is also customary to eat dairy, especially cheese blintzes. Some say this represents Israel as “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Central observes Shavuot through festival and yizkor services, and by celebrating and honoring our confirmation class (10th grade). Each member of the class receives a personal blessing at the ark from a member of our Clergy team on the Friday night closest to Shavuot. We call this their consecration. The confirmation class also leads our Erev Shavuot Service as a class. Shavuot morning includes a yizkor service to mark the holiday and recall those we have lost.