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Shavuot: The Festival Honoring Receiving the Torah

Written by Cantor Jeri Robins

 

Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays. It is the third of our three festival holidays, so-called because, in Temple times, Jews from all over would travel to Jerusalem to make sacrifices. In fact, in Hebrew, Shavuot, along with Sukkot and Pesach (Passover), are called the Shalosh Regalim ([literally] the three legs or feet), because for each of these three holidays people went walking on a pilgrimage. Just as Passover is associated with freedom and redemption from slavery, Shavuot is associated with receiving the Torah or revelation. To mark the occasion, the Ten Commandments are read on Shavuot. Each of the festivals is also marked by a special reading: on Sukkot, we read from the Book of Ecclesiastes (“for everything there is a season” – as we enter fall and winter); on Pesach, we read from the Song of Songs (love poetry); and, on Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth.

 

Ruth is a Moabite woman who is the widow of one of Naomi’s sons. Naomi decides to return to her home and encourages Ruth to return to her family. In a very famous scene, Ruth responds to Naomi, “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16). This quote is considered a statement of conversion for Ruth. Later in the story, she marries Boaz and, in their lineage, is King David.

 

Today, Shavuot is traditionally celebrated not only with services, but also with study. Some communities hold all-night learning sessions! The other way many observe Shavuot is to eat dairy foods – blintzes and cheesecake are especially popular. Shavuot begins on Saturday night (May 19th) and goes through Monday. Yizkor, a memorial service for those who have lost a direct relative (parent, sibling or child) is recited on Yom Kippur and the three festivals. It is customary to light a yarzheit candle in observance.

 

Be in touch if you have any questions about Shavuot at director@bjep.comChag Sameach!

Welcome Letter to New Families from the Education Director

Cantor Robins shares her thoughts (pdf) with BJEP families on What makes learning possible and How do we build Jewish identity?

Talking to Our Children About Anti-Semitism

One of our responsibilities as parents and educators is to find ways to respond to our children’s questions.  Cantor Robins shares some thoughts on speaking with our children (pdf) and resources available.

BJEP Alum? Keep in touch!

Seeking former BJEP students, Brandeis students/alumni who were BJEP student teachers, BJEP parents and other Brandeis alum affiliated with BJEP.
Join the ‘BJEP Alumni Association’ on Facebook to hear about 50th anniversary events and re-connect with your BJEP community.

Read all BJEP Blog Posts >> 

Upcoming Events

August 5, 2018
  • BJEP Open House on the Road in Arlington
    Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Location: In a private home. RSVP for the address. map

    BJEP, an independent and vibrant Jewish learning community, from pre-K to Grade 7, invites the community to join the fun! Through an interactive curriculum, BJEP instills students with a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community, and knowledge of Jewish traditions, history and the Hebrew language. We meet on Sundays from 9:30am-12pm at Brandeis University.

    - We welcome families from 30+ communities, including Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Framingham, Medfield, Natick, Needham, Newton, Southborough, Sudbury and Wayland!

    - Classes and Electives taught by dynamic Brandeis Students
    - Learning Specialist on Staff
    - Bar & Bat Mitzvah Support

    Questions and to RSVP: info@bjep.com / 781-386-7278
    Cantor Jeri Robins, Director
    www.bjep.org

    More details...
August 28, 2018
  • Welcome Back Picnic & Open House
    Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
    Location: Newton Centre Playground, 81 Tyler Terrace, Newton, MA 02459, USA map

    Jewish Education Program (BJEP) / Open House and 3rd Annual Welcome Back Picnic

    Park on Tyler Terrace or in the Mason-Rice parking lot. We will meet near the big playground structure down the hill from the Jeanette West Recreation Center.

    BYO Picnic - Bring a blanket & dinner
    BJEP will provide JP Licks Ice Cream! (non-dairy option available)

    RSVP appreciated by Sunday, August 26th (so we know how much ice cream to bring!): https://goo.gl/forms/Mr0owYD50ovWDBCE3

    Rain date: Wednesday, August 29.

    Questions? info@bjep.com

    Cantor Jeri Robins, Director
    Phone 781-386-7278
    Website: www.bjep.org

    More details...
August 29, 2018
  • Rain Date: Welcome Back Picnic & Open House
    Time: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
    Location: Newton Centre Playground, 81 Tyler Terrace, Newton, MA 02459, USA map

    RAIN DATE

    Jewish Education Program (BJEP) / Open House and 3rd Annual Welcome Back Picnic

    Park on Tyler Terrace or in the Mason-Rice parking lot. We will meet near the big playground structure down the hill from the Jeanette West Recreation Center.

    BYO Picnic - Bring a blanket & dinner
    BJEP will provide JP Licks Ice Cream! (non-dairy option available)

    RSVP appreciated by Sunday, August 26th (so we know how much ice cream to bring!): https://goo.gl/forms/Mr0owYD50ovWDBCE3

    Rain date: Wednesday, August 29.

    Questions? info@bjep.com

    Cantor Jeri Robins, Director
    Phone 781-386-7278
    Website: www.bjep.org

    More details...
September 10, 2018
  • BJEP Rosh Hashanah Services
    Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
    Location: 415 South St, Waltham, MA 02453, USA map

    The High Holidays are a time to gather joyfully in community, share stories, sing songs and reflect on the year. BJEP (Boston-area Jewish Education Program) High Holiday Family Services at Brandeis University integrate tradition and creativity. Join us!

    Rosh Hashanah: September 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Monday)
    Yom Kippur: September 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Wednesday)

    Services run a little over an hour. These services include Hebrew and English prayers, Jewish songs, and a creative Torah reading. While children of all ages are welcome, the experience will be most meaningful for children ages 4 and up. There will be a book corner available for younger children. On Rosh Hashanah, there will be a light Kiddish following the service.

    Registration Open: High Holiday Ticket Price is $136 per BJEP family and $180 per non-BJEP Family.
    Website: http://bjep.org/programs-2/holidays-at-bjep/
    Register/RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/XUIOlHFqe2uNrB4Q2

    The Boston-area Jewish Education Program (BJEP), located on the campus of Brandeis University, is an independent, vibrant and inclusive Jewish learning community for children from Pre-K to Grade 7 and their families. We meet once a week on Sunday mornings on the Brandeis campus, with Brandeis students teaching our dynamic, interactive curriculum, instilling in our students a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community and knowledge of Jewish traditions and the Hebrew language. We engage parents through family programming and festive celebrations throughout the year. Learn more: www.bjep.org

    #highholiday #roshhashanah #yomkippur #brandeishighholidays #jewisheducation #notyourparentshebrewschool

    More details...
September 19, 2018
  • BJEP Yom Kippur Services
    Time: 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
    Location: 415 South St, Waltham, MA 02453, USA map

    The High Holidays are a time to gather joyfully in community, share stories, sing songs and reflect on the year. BJEP (Boston-area Jewish Education Program) High Holiday Family Services at Brandeis University integrate tradition and creativity. Join us!

    Rosh Hashanah: September 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Monday)
    Yom Kippur: September 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm (Wednesday)

    Services run a little over an hour. These services include Hebrew and English prayers, Jewish songs, and a creative Torah reading. While children of all ages are welcome, the experience will be most meaningful for children ages 4 and up. There will be a book corner available for younger children. On Rosh Hashanah, there will be a light Kiddish following the service.

    Registration Open: High Holiday Ticket Price is $136 per BJEP family and $180 per non-BJEP Family.
    Website: http://bjep.org/programs-2/holidays-at-bjep/
    Register/RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/XUIOlHFqe2uNrB4Q2

    The Boston-area Jewish Education Program (BJEP), located on the campus of Brandeis University, is an independent, vibrant and inclusive Jewish learning community for children from Pre-K to Grade 7 and their families. We meet once a week on Sunday mornings on the Brandeis campus, with Brandeis students teaching our dynamic, interactive curriculum, instilling in our students a sense of joy and belonging within the Jewish community and knowledge of Jewish traditions and the Hebrew language. We engage parents through family programming and festive celebrations throughout the year. Learn more: www.bjep.org

    #highholiday #roshhashanah #yomkippur #brandeishighholidays #jewisheducation #notyourparentshebrewschool

    More details...
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