Shavuot is almost here!

Dear friends,

Today is the 44th day of the Omer (the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot.) Shavuot is almost upon us!

Shavuot is one of the shalosh regalim, the three great pilgrimage festivals when our people used to convene in Jerusalem to connect with God. Our tradition regards it as the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Sinai.

On Tuesday June 3 we’ll meet at the Williams College Jewish Religious Center (along with the Beth El Bennington community) for a tikkun leyl Shavuot, a late-night study celebration. We’ll begin at 8pm with a brief festival service (probably only half an hour long), and then we’ll do some learning together.

All are welcome to join us — even if you aren’t likely to stay until the small hours of the night; come for as much as you can!

And all are welcome to teach: to share a poem which speaks to you (on a subject relating to Judaism or Torah), or a quotation, or something you found in a book which resonated with you, or some piece of Torah learning which is meaningful to you. Teachings can be as brief as a few minutes, or as long as half an hour.

We usually go until about 2am, fueled by espresso milkshakes and by our love of learning. There is something special and sweet about studying Torah (broadly defined) in the middle of the night. Our sages tell us that midnight is an especially auspicious time to study Torah, because something special in us opens up at that hour, allowing us to receive Torah in a new way. Join us and discover how that feels for you.

And on Wednesday morning, June 4, we’ll convene at 10am at CBI for a Shavuot morning service led by Rabbi Pam Wax, which will feature Yizkor, the memorial prayers which we recite four times a year. As dairy foods are traditionally eaten at Shavuot, there will be fantastic cheesecake brought from New York City at the oneg after services!

I hope you’ll join us for one or both of these delicious Shavuot experiences.

Wishing you blessings as we continue to move through the Omer,

Rabbi Rachel

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