The half-million Jews of South Florida will join their fellows worldwide for Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, which will start at sundown May 26. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The holiday is one of the three Jewish “pilgrim festivals,” along with Passover and Sukkot, to recall the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt and subsequent wanderings in the Sinai desert. Shavuot follows Passover by seven weeks — a “week of weeks.”
Synagogues observe Shavuot with the reading of the Ten Commandments. Some also read the biblical story of Ruth, who converted to Judaism and became the grandmother of King David. According to tradition, David was born and died on Shavuot.
A popular Shavuot custom is eating blintzes, cheesecake and other dairy treats, a way of stating that the Torah is like the biblical "milk and honey."
In recent years, many synagogues have increasingly held confirmation ceremonies on Shavuot, as their young men and women take their place in the Jewish community.
Here are some planned Shavuot events around South Florida. More will be added as they come in.
Maariv evening service for Shavuot, 7 p.m. May 26 at B’nai Torah Congregation, 6261 SW 18th St., Boca Raton. Included: discussion on "Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship," followed by cheesecake and make-your-own-sundaes. Following: discussion on "What's So Interesting About the Book of Deuteronomy?" Admission free. Call 561-392-8566.
Ten Commandments reading at 10 a.m. May 27 at Chabad Lubavitch of Fort Lauderdale, 3500 N. Ocean Drive. Kids' party at 3:30 p.m. Call 954-568-1190.
At Temple Anshei Shalom, Delray Beach: Maariv service at 7 p.m. May 26, followed by lecture on "Mitzvot of the Ten Commandments"; Shavuot luncheon after 9 a.m. service May 27; Shavuot-Memorial Day service honoring Vietnam veterans at 9 a.m., with Yizkor at 5 p.m. Luncheon is $20, due May 22. Address: 7099 W. Atlantic Ave. Call 561-495-1300.
Torah marathon starting 11:45 p.m. May 26 At Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Boynton Beach, 10655 El Clair Ranch Road. Also planned: Reading of Ten Commandments at 9:30 a.m. May 27, followed by free dairy buffet luncheon and ice cream bar. Yizkor memorial prayers at 11 a.m. May 28. For information, visit chabadboynton.com.
Jewish War Veterans, guests for Yizkor service 9 a.m. May 28 at Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach, 201 S. Military Trail. Information: 954-421-7060.
James D. Davis