Shavuot 2021 begins at sundown on Sunday, May 16 and ends Tuesday evening, May 18. While Pesach (Passover) marks the Jewish people’s beginnings as a people, Shavuot (literally meaning “weeks”), marks a culmination and a celebration. Shavuot is a celebration of the anniversary of the Jewish people’s receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.
From its origins as a time of anticipation towards the first agricultural offerings or the receiving of Torah, the Omer Period took on additional meaning and become a period of mourning. It is related in the Talmud that during this period 12,000 pairs of Rabbi Akiva’s students perished from a plague (Yevamot 62b). A communal time of mourning continues in some communities during the Omer period with some refraining from weddings, concerts, and even cutting one’s hair. This time of communal mourning takes place for 48 days, temporarily breaking on Lag B’omer (33rd Day of the Omer) to commemorate the day when the plague broke.
Shavuot and the closing of the period of the Omer marks a return to community. The sadness and heaviness of the Omer mourning is lifted for joyous holiday meals and celebrations. In some communities, it is customary to gather and stay up all night studying Torah and other Jewish texts the first night of Shavuot, in sessions called Tikkun Leil Shavuot.
On Sunday evening, May 16 at 6:13pm, the Friedman JCC along with Temple B’nai B’rith, Temple Israel and Ohev Zedek will be staging a study session at the JCC. I hope you will be able to join us this Sunday and take home a piece of cheesecake as well!
As we enter 5781 (2021), the Jewish Leadership Council of Wilkes-Barre is working together to provide a variety of learning and engagement opportunities to help us all stay connected.
Our plan is to cultivate learning opportunities while creating quality content and connection opportunities for now and into the future.
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