Religious : : Religious Committee Report

In ancient Israel, religious life focused upon Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. This was the site for observing major events which were led by the High Priest and featured very specific animal sacrifices. The Torah enumerates three Pilgrimage Festivals when men were strongly encouraged to go to the Temple in Jerusalem and sacrifice animals reflective of their financial position. The three festivals were Passover and Shavuos in the Spring and Succos in the Fall.

All three coincide with important harvest times in the Land of Israel: Passover with the barley harvest; Shavuos with the harvesting of the wheat;
and the eighth day of Succos marking the conclusion of the fruit harvest. In English, Shavuos is translated as the Feast of Weeks because it occurs exactly seven weeks after the second day of Passover.

After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the actual pilgrimages are no longer obligatory upon Jews, and no longer take place on a national scale. In addition, rabbinic tradition teaches that Shavuos occurs on the day that G-d gave The Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai. According to tradition, this occurred in 1312 BCE.

From a “big picture” perspective, on Passover, the Israelites became a people freed from their enslavement and on Shavuos they were given the Torah and became a nation committed to serving G-d.

It is traditional for Jews to eat dairy foods on Shavuos. Many reasons are given for this, including: the Torah which was given on Shavuos obligated Jews to eat kosher food and eating dairy is a way to avoid eating non- kosher animal products; the Torah is likened to nourishing milk; and to the sweetness of milk & honey.

Speaking of food, we will be having a gala catered brunch on the first day of Shavuos, June 12th immediately following 10 AM services. See full details in this bulletin. Please join us.

B’Shalom,

Sandy Shapiro & Arnold Miller
Co-Chairs