For specific information about holiday events, please contact the Temple office or click on the Calendar tab.
Shavuot's name, which means weeks, comes from the time of its celebration, seven weeks after Pesach. In the Torah, this festival is also called Chag Hakatsir, the Harvest Festival (Exodus 23:16), and Chag HaBikurim, the Festival of First Fruits (Exodus 34:22).
Commitment to Torah
Today we base our observance on the Talmud's identifying Shavuot with the events at Sinai. It is called Zman Matan Torateinu, the season of the giving of the Torah. On Shavuot, the Jewish people celebrate their covenantal relationship with God and reaffirm their commitment to Jewish life of studay (Talmud Torah) and practice (mitzvot). The significance of the events at Sinai comes not only form the receiving of mitzvot, but also from their acceptance, as illustrated in Israel's response, Na-aseh veishma, "We will faithfully do." Sinai represents a constant effort to confront life and history in light of this covenantal relationship.
We read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot because the story of Ruth took place during the barley harvest in the Shavuot season. Rabbinic traditoin noted a parallel between Ruth's willingness to accept Judaism and hte Jewish people's ready acceptance of the Torah.
The Festival of Threes
The number three is a common thread that runs through this holiday. The Tanach has three parts: Torah, Neviim, and Kesuvim. The Jews had three tribes: Kohanim, Levitim, and Yisraelim. And Moshe, who was the third child of Amram (who belonged to Levi, the third tribe!), received the Torah after three days of preparation, in the third month, Sivan.
Temple Israel usually celebrates Shavout each year with Confirmation. The ceremony is a Reform innovation, which began in the nineteenth century. Confirmation adds a new dimension to th meaning of this spring festival. It provides an opportunity for students of post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah age to affirm their relationship to Judaism and the Jewish people.