Events in Jerusalem

Shavuot in Jerusalem


Shavuot in Jerusalem at 09.06.2019

Until 09.06.2019

Shavuot, meaning "weeks," is the sister holiday of Passover, the culmination of the seven-week Omer period that begins as Passover ends (the 49 days between the holidays led the Greeks to call Shavuot "Pentecost," meaning "50 days"). Although it hardly attracts as much attention as the street-emptying solemnity of Yom Kippur or the flagrant hut-building of Sukkot, Shavuot is one of Judaism's most important holidays, as it celebrates the event that turned the Hebrews into the Jewish people: the giving of the Torah. 

 

Observant Jews will stay awake the entire night of Shavuot, studying Jewish law until nearly sun-up with the aid of tasty dairy products, which are, for somewhat murky reasons, the traditional food of Shavuot. Cheese blintzes are popular, but in Israel, you're just as likely to see Jews ringing in Shavuot with cheese bourekasim and cheesecake.

 

In Jerusalem, just as the first light of dawn begins to break, thousands of pious Jews from every corner of the city put down their study materials and begin to walk to the Old City, hearkening back to the days when the Temple stood. The multitudes gather in the Kotel plaza, which becomes jammed shoulder to shoulder with worshipers, and recite the morning prayer service together. The intense, spiritually charged silence that descends on the plaza as the assembled thousands recite the Shmoneh Esreh is a wonder to behold, and a Shavuot experience you can't have anywhere but in Jerusalem.

Cultural institutions and synagogues around Jerusalem, including Beit Avi Chai, the Begin Museum, and the Tower of David Museum often hold all night long study programs, known in Hebrew as "Tikkun Leil Shavuot." 

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