The festival of Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and encourages us to embrace the Torah’s teachings and be inspired by the wisdom Jewish tradition has to offer. Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks,” and the holiday occurs seven weeks after Passover.

This holiday marks the end of the counting of Omer (Sefirat HaOmer), beginning after the second day of Passover and taking place for 49 days (7 weeks or a “week” of weeks). In Hebrew, the word Shavuot (שבועות) has in its root also the word seven (שבע), marking also the duration of the Counting of Omer.

This day is also known as the “Festival of Reaping” (Chag HaKatzir). It is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals (“Shloshet HaRegalim”) along with Passover and Sukkot and though its customs vary according to each community, it is commonly characterised by the consumption of dairy foods, decoration with greenery, and the reading of the Book of Ruth.

Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and the choice to participate actively in Jewish life.