The holiday of Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, on May 19 marks the Jewish community’s receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and it also signals the beginning of the harvest season in Israel. The date marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.
Unlike other Jewish holidays, Shavuot has no prescribed mitzvot (Torah commandments), but it is characterized by several customs, including reading a specific liturgical poem during morning services, eating dairy products, reading the Book of Ruth, decorating homes and synagogues with greenery and engaging in all-night Torah study. Every year on the holiday, we are renewing our acceptance of God’s gift.
Here are several suggestions to celebrate Shavuot and make it a “green” holiday in your home:
- Decorate your home with local flowers and green plants, as is customary to honor the holiday.
- Pitch a tent in your backyard (or inside!) and have a family sleepover. Tell stories from the book of Ruth before bed and blow horns (or a shofar, if you have one) in the morning.
- Bake your own challah to honor the wheat season.
- Go on a nature walk in a park, and collect flowers to make a centerpiece for your holiday meal. You can also make these colorful floral paper crowns using recycled paper.
- Use local cheese to make your own blintzes (yummy recipe ideas here, including gluten-free).
For a Shavuot guide for kids, visit chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/354751/jewish/Shavuot.htm.