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Jewish Holidays: Shavuot

Shavuot is a two-day holiday. In 2020 it’s celebrated from sunset on May 28 until nightfall on May 30. Shavuot coincides with the date that G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. It was at Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. It comes after 49 days of eager counting, as we prepared ourselves for this special day!

WHAT ARE THE CUSTOMS FOR SHAVUOT?

  1. To commemorate the giving of the Torah at Sinai there is a tradition. Staying up all night studying Jewish texts in what is called a Tikkun.
  2. On Shavuot, the Book of Ruth is read
  3. In order to mark the agricultural history of Shavuot, some decorate their house and synagogues with a floral theme.
  4. Traditionally dairy foods are eaten on Shavuot, so it’s no surprise that cheesecake is an incredibly popular Shavuot dessert.

Why dairy?

With the giving of the Torah, all of a sudden, the laws of keeping kosher were in effect, especially separating milk and meat. However, the Torah was given on Shabbat, when it would be impossible to kasher (make kosher) all the pots and pans, or cook kosher food, so they ate what was available – dairy. Dairy is often ready to eat, and a fast way to fill up (just like grabbing a yogurt out of the fridge when you’re hungry, right?). Symbolizing modesty, the dairy was also seen as appropriate for the occasion of receiving the Torah, which should always be approached with humility.

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