Most of the Jewish community celebrated Shavuot, the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, in mid-June.
Some residents of Israel, including the Black Hebrews of Dimona, celebrated Shavuot a few weeks later.
The group, like the Karaites and Samaritans, who also recognize only the Torah but not the Oral Law as a source for their traditions, count Shavuot as occurring on the Sunday seven weeks after the Sunday of Passover.
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A surprising highlight of a touching Torah dedication ceremony aboard the USS Iwo Jima last Wednesday at Pier 88 was the fact that the admiral of the ship, who received the scroll on behalf of the Navy from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, happened to be Jewish.
(An estimated 1 percent of the U.S. military is Jewish.)
Adm. Herm Shelanski appeared moved by the ceremony, telling the 30 or so assembled JCRC representatives and guests that having a Torah on board is deeply meaningful not only to Jewish members of the crew but to all on board.
Among Ashkenazic Jews, it’s Lag Ba Omer. For Sephardim, it’s Lag LaOmer.
The holiday this week — the name means the 33rd day of the Omer period between Passover and Shavuot — is a minor part of the Jewish calendar in many diaspora communities, but a prominent day in Israel. For students, a day off from school. For many workers, a day off from work. For many Israelis, a day of picnics, celebrations and bonfires, as here in Meron.