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Celebrating Shavuot in Northern Virginia

You’ll find below a community bulletin board of programs around Northern Virginia that are celebrating Passover. We invite all organizations to post their programs to the board.


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Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan. The holiday is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two holidays are Passover and Sukkot). In the Bible, Shavuot marked the wheat harvest in the Land of Israel, it also marks the time of the giving of the Torah.


  • Work is not permitted during Shavuot.
  • It is customary to stay up the entire first night of Shavuot and study Torah, then pray as early as possible in the morning.
  • It is customary to eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavuot.
  • The book of Ruth is read at this time.
  • Get ready to celebrate because Shavuot, one of the joyous holidays in the Jewish calendar. Shavuot is a time to commemorate two significant events: the grain harvest of early summer and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, which occurred seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt.

So, what exactly is Shavuot? It’s a unique festival holiday that intertwines the bounty of nature and the spiritual connection between the Jewish people and the Torah. Let’s take a closer look at the traditions and customs associated with this holiday.

The Grain Harvest Celebration:

Shavuot falls during the season of early summer, when the first fruits of the harvest are ripe and ready. As part of the festivities, it has become customary to indulge in dairy products. Although the exact reason behind this tradition remains uncertain, many theories exist. Some suggest that the Jewish people, after receiving the Torah, needed time to prepare kosher meat, so they opted for dairy products instead. Others connect it to the land of Israel, a land flowing with milk and honey. Regardless of the origins, savoring a creamy cheesecake or enjoying cheese blintzes has become synonymous with Shavuot celebrations.

Commemorating the Giving of the Torah:

Shavuot also marks the pivotal moment when the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai. To honor this sacred occasion, many devote themselves to Torah study throughout the night. This tradition, known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot, allows people to delve deeper into Jewish teachings and embrace the spirit of learning. It’s an excellent opportunity for a cozy pajama day, surrounded by books, discussions, and the wisdom of the ages.

The Book of Ruth:

The holiday of Shavuot coincides with the reading of the Book of Ruth. This beautiful biblical tale tells the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman who chose to join the Jewish people and ultimately became the great-grandmother of King David. Reading and discussing the Book of Ruth during Shavuot is a reminder of the power of loyalty, kindness, and the inclusion of those from different backgrounds.

Embracing Nature and Community:

Shavuot is a holiday that emphasizes the importance of community. It’s a time to come together, just as the Jewish people did at Mount Sinai, to celebrate the divine connection and the shared heritage. Decorate your home with flowers, symbolizing the beauty of nature. Engage in paper cutting, a traditional folk art, to create intricate designs and add a touch of artistic flair to your surroundings.

In the spirit of Shavuot, we invite you to celebrate the joy, unity, and wisdom of this holiday. Remember to cherish the blessings of nature, indulge in delightful dairy treats, engage in study, and share the story of Ruth with your loved ones.

Shavuot Resources