Jews Throughout the World Celebrate Shavuot

Jewish holiday commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai 3,324 years ago.

Jews around the world began celebrating Shavuot at sunset Saturday, a holiday that commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai 3,324 years ago.

The holiday is a time where Jews believe the souls of every Jewish person—alive at the time or not—were at the site when the commandments were given.

On Saturday night, Jews are encouraged to spend the night studying and learning as part of the holiday and many area synagogues hold all-night learning sessions to encourage this.

Sunday: Along with special services for the holiday, special lamentations and prayers are read including the Book of Ruth, telling the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law. Ruth and her husband, Boaz, were the parents of King David.

Monday: During services, the four-times-a-year Yizkor memorial service is held to remember relatives and friends who have died.

One of the other Shavuot traditions is to eat dairy on the first day of the holiday. One of the many reasons for this could be because, since the Torah was given on the Jewish Sabbath, no tools could be used on that day to kill cattle. Thus, dairy was served.

The holiday ends on Monday night at sunset.

During the holiday, the same rules are observed as on the Jewish Sabbath, including: refraining from turning on or off lights, work is forbidden, as are the use of electronics or lights; and holiday candles are lit.

Jewish law requires all able-bodied Jews to attend services at synagogue to hear the Ten Commandments.


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