Though Shavuot might not be one of the most well-known Jewish holidays, it’s one that’s worth celebrating. It’s a holiday that involves an all-nighter and the chance to eat your favorite cheesecake!
Shavuot, which means “weeks” in Hebrew, refers to the counting of the harvest and takes place seven weeks after Passover. It actually brings together two different celebrations: the significant moment in Jewish religious history when Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai and the summer harvest. Many people who observe the holiday go to synagogue and listen to the ten commandments read. Others stay up all night and mark Shavuot by studying from the Torah. There’s also a tradition, with many possible explanations, of eating lots of dairy products (maybe the most fun part of all?).
So, when is Shavuot this year? Since the dates of Shavuot are determined by the Hebrew calendar, it changes every year. This year, Shavuot 2023 starts at sundown Thursday, May 25 and ends Saturday night, May 27.
This holiday is a great one to celebrate with your kids and extended family because there are so many different ways to customize it and make it your own.
How can I make Shavuot my own?
Celebrate the importance of relationships in your life. Since Shavuot traditionally commemorates the relationship between a higher power and the Jewish people, reflect on how relationships play a role for you, your partner or your family. What does it feel like to connect with someone? How do you communicate with each other, especially when it comes to celebrating holidays in an interfaith relationship? These basic questions may spark more than you realize.
Get creative with dairy-inspired recipes. This holiday is all about enjoying your favorite dairy products, so grab a cheeseboard, your favorite cheese and a group of friends. You can also take this opportunity to check out some local farmers markets and support small businesses. And don’t forget to try out some of our multicultural recipes for Shavuot, from pomegranate ice cream to golden milk blintzes.
Learn something new. Whether Shavuot means staying up all night and studying Torah, going to synagogue or neither, this holiday stresses the importance of learning. Maybe you’ve been putting off learning a new language or have a subject you want to understand better. Download Duolingo, look up some nonfiction books and get going!
18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.