Want more information on Shavuot? Check out Jvillage Network's Shavuot Guide.
Shavuot begins after sunset on May 19
What is Shavuot?
Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, and occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It is associated with the grain harvest in the Torah.
How is Shavuot celebrated?
Staff of myjewishlearning.com
Jewish educator, songwriter and sacred drummer Shoshana Jedwab trains female spiritual leaders by harnessing the power of rhythm
Shoshana Jedwab is a Jewish educator, songwriter and sacred drummer. Raised in Brooklyn in a traditional Jewish family of rabbis and community leaders, Jedwab began to forge her own spiritual path in her 30s, embracing the rhythmic instinct she had felt since childhood and which she describes as “an act of nature that moves through me.”
Read more and watch the video on Shoshana and the Kohenet movement.
Lag B'Omer is celebrated this year on May 3
Lag B'Omer literally means the 33rd day of the Omer. The Omer is counted for 49 days between the end of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot (derived from the practice of counting the days from the barley offering at the Temple to the day of the wheat offering on Shavuot, in the Torah). The holiday celebrates a break in a plague that is said to have occurred during the days of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud states that the great teacher of Jewish mysticism Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died on Lag B’Omer, and in modern times the holiday has come to symbolize the resilience of the Jewish spirit.
By Suzanne Selengut for Tablet Magazine
Hispanic crypto-Jews use social media and DNA testing to reconnect with their heritage
When retired civil servant Carl Montoya arrives for prayers at Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia, he has a routine. He expertly wraps tefillin, dons his Sephardic prayer shawl, and greets his many friends in the pews. The Hebrew prayers can be tricky for him, but he is slowly mastering them all, together with the rest of Jewish ritual life. As a convert to Conservative Judaism and an active member of an Orthodox synagogue, Montoya has definitely broken from his past as a Catholic with deep roots in New Mexico’s historic Hispanic community. But what makes his story truly remarkable is not just that he is a Jew by choice, but that he is a Jew by birth.
From BBC History Magazine
Jewish people first began arriving in England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 and their histories can be traced in the country’s major cities today. Through the story of a bronze cauldron known as the Bodleian Bowl, historian Rebecca Abrams explores the experiences of Jews in medieval England, from prosperity to persecution…
Jewish communities spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean world from the first century AD, but it was not until the 11th century that Jewish people in any significant number began to cross the Channel and settle in England. This magnificent bronze cauldron, from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (pictured), is intimately bound up with the story of how the Jews first came to England in 1070, and what happened to them during the next 200 years before they were abruptly expelled from the country in 1290.
Holocaust Remembrance Day falls this year on April 12th
Surviving the Holocaust
Beside slaughtering the Jewish people, the Nazis also tried to break the Jewish spirit. We have heard many times how the Jewish soul survives even in the darkest of times. This video presents one account that needs to be told.
By Ophir Toubul for 972mag.com
Mimouna, the traditional festival celebrated by North African Jews on the last day of Passover, is often overlooked when discussing the Jewish holiday of liberation. Here are 10 things you might not know about the celebration that once brought Jews and Muslims together.
1. The name of the holiday, “Mimouna,” has several different, fascinating meanings. The most famous of them attribute the name to the Hebrew word “emuna” (belief), the death of the preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, Rambam (“Maimonides”) or the name of the Berber goddess of luck (“Mimouna”). A less popular explanation ascribes the name of the holiday to the city of Tamimouna near Sudan, from which many Jews came to the Tafilalt region in southern Morocco. During the Passover Seder, alongside the prayer for “next year in Jerusalem,” it was customary to pray for a return to Tafilalt. Does this mean we are actually Sudanese?