Shavuot

Who was the first Jew By Choice?

"Let us embrace those who want to convert, not question their motivations or genuineness."

Up All Night

05/20/2015
Editorial

It is as intimate as any hour in the Jewish year, the half-light of Shavuot near dawn, after the all-night learning when it is time for early prayer and then rising for the reading of the Ten Commandments. Yes, most of the world is still asleep, but most of the world was “sleeping” at Sinai, too. Legend has it that every other nation on the planet was offered the Torah first, but declined, politely and otherwise. Only the Israelites said yes, and even then with a threatening mountain held above them, and the skies a wild concoction of a desert storm, thunder, lightening and a rain, say the mystics, that was reminiscent of Noah’s.

Narrowing The Divide Between History And Theology

05/19/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Decades ago, while teaching at Yeshiva University, I was approached by a student who came to my office and bluntly declared: “I no longer believe that the Bible is Divine and therefore cannot live by its commandments.” Taken aback by his certainty, I also was somewhat gratified by his desire to discuss it with me personally. I tried persuading him, probably unsuccessfully, that the Torah comprised the treasured inheritance of the Jewish people, which had preserved us for millennia. Sadly, I never saw him again.

Steven Bayme

Shavuot: A Time For Embracing the Convert

05/19/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

In the seven weeks leading up to the Festival of Shavuot (May 24-25), we count each night in anticipation of the revelation of Torah at Sinai, where we recommit ourselves to Jewish tradition, God, and the Jewish people. It is a time I imagine that local mikvahs (ritual baths) see an increase in visitors as the numbers of conversions are completed during this time.

Rabbi Rachel Ain

Shavuot In Israel, Black Hebrews Style

05/19/2015
Staff Writer

In Israel, Shavuot, a one-day holiday, is a time of family meals topped off with cheesecake, picnics and excursions to the seashore, all-night study sessions in Orthodox circles and the recitation of the Hallel prayers in many synagogues.

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Everybody Thinks They're 'Chosen'

06/03/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I grew up with an epic clash of narratives, as did so many of my Jewish-American peers. On the one hand, we were told that everyone is equal, and therefore we should judge people on their actions and individual character, not based on their ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Yet at the same time, I was told to only marry Jewish.

Paul Golin

Hearing Lightning And Seeing Thunder: Judaism Is Accessible

Tuesday evening begins the holy days of Shavout, the moment of receiving Torah at Mount Sinai. Revelation at Sinai is the first, and largest, act of religious equality in history. Many other cultures and religions experience the divine in the same way they experience the world around them – as a hierarchy, a society divided by class or title. The Revelation at Mt. Sinai is open to all – regardless of status, gender, power, or lack of power. All the individuals at Sinai are equal.

Rabbi Daniel Grossman

Preparing For Shavuot: Reliving The Sinai Experience

We could celebrate Shavuot as we just celebrated Memorial Day: with ceremonies, a day off from work and a festive meal.   Our tradition urges us to celebrate Shavuot in a more spiritual manner, by recreating the experience of standing at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

Rabbi Michael Levy

The Low-Key Festival

05/28/2014
Editorial

Shavuot, the most subtle of holidays, comes in on cat’s paws, often eluding the Jewish and general consciousness. (This year it is celebrated from Tuesday evening to Thursday night, June 3-5.) Jack Frost, Thanksgiving and department stores herald the coming of Chanukah. Passover’s multiple preparations begin with Purim, and model seders with our American neighbors. Sukkot, with its highly visible accouterments, rides the coat tails of the High Holy Days. Shavuot — meaning simply “Weeks” — is prefaced with the seven weeks of the Omer’s nightly blessing, a sign that, starting with Passover, we eagerly anticipate the holiday on which the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. But only the Lou Gehrigs and Cal Ripkens among us haven’t missed an evening’s count along the way.

New York Adjusts Candidate Petition Dates For Shavuot

05/14/2014

New York State moved up the launch of petition drives for primary candidates because the original date fell during Shavuot.

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