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update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

Shavuot 2023

Shavuot events range from ‘Tootsie Roll Torahs’ to opera concerts

The two-day holiday commemorates and celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Ice-cream cone. Credit: Pixabay.
Ice-cream cone. Credit: Pixabay.

Celebrations are planned across the United States for Shavuot—the two-day holiday that begins on the evening of May 25 and marks the receiving of the Torah during the revelation at Mount Sinai. Tradition also incorporates the eating of dairy foods.

At Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Center, cheesecake and coffee will be on tap from 10 p.m. on May 25 until 1 a.m. with a host of speakers on topics ranging from “Back on the Rack: How Israel Lost its Right to High-End Fashion After the Golden Calf” to “Finding Sparks of Holiness in a Wi-Fi World” to “Genetically Modified Designer Babies.”

The Reform congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, Kan., will hold a confirmation ceremony on May 25 during a Shavuot service with a dessert reception to celebrate students. The Reform Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge, N.J., will host a May 25 concert with its cantor Maria Dubinsky and Ukrainian musician Alesia Kizil.

Chabad of El Cerrito, Calif., will host a May 26 “dairy dinner buffet, cheesecake and ice-cream party,” while on the same day at Chabad of Glencoe, Ill., children can participate in an entertaining “ice-cream-making activity.” On May 22, the St. Louis Jewish Community Center will hold a Shavuot “ice-cream-mixing factory” and puppet show, while the Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Wash., will host a May 21 family ice-cream social, which will also involve making “Tootsie Roll Torahs.”

The Reform congregation Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, Calif., is hosting a May 26 barbecue for both Shavuot and Memorial Day, and in New York, five synagogues—the temples Beth-El (Great Neck), Judea (Manhasset) Tikvah (New Hyde Park), Isaiah (Great Neck) and North Country Reform Temple (Glen Cove)—are jointly celebrating Shavuot on May 25. The quintet does require registration in advance, they stress, “so we have enough cheesecake!”

And among dozens of sessions that the Manhattan Jewish Community Center is hosting are some with star power: a conversation with actress Tovah Feldshuh, and a book talk with journalist and author Taffy Brodesser-Akner, whose book Fleishman Is in Trouble was made into a Hulu series last year.

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