Twins.Significance of this Month
Sivan is the third month of the Jewish calendar. Traditionally it marks the time that the Jewish people became a nation by receiving the Torah at Sinai. According to tradition, the people arrived at Mt. Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Holidays
The holiday of Shavuot
is on the Sixth of Sivan. This holiday is also known as z'man matan Torateinu, the "Time of the Giving of Our Torah." During Temple Times, pilgrims for the holiday would bring their first fruits as offerings to God. Shavuot marks the end of the seven-week Omer period that began on Passover. Traditionally, Jews stay up all night on the first night of Shavuot learning Torah to show our excitement to receive the Torah. The Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot because it shows Ruth's acceptance of the Torah. Traditionally, Jews eat dairy foods on Shavuot because we presumably did not know the laws of slaughtering animals until after receiving the Torah and therefore could not eat kosher meat. Another tradition is to decorate the synagogue with flowers and greenery to represent Mt. Sinai.Women to Celebrate
Ruth - The heroine of the Biblical book named after her. Ruth willingly converted to Judaism and displayed loyalty and friendship to her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David.
Ruth Calderon - A leader of a fast and growing movement in Israel that seeks to bring Jewish learning and culture to secular Israelis without trying to make them more religious. Ruth's goal is to put Israelis in touch with their Jewish texts because she finds Jewish texts and culture beautiful. She is the founder and executive director of Alma
, a liberal arts college for the study of Hebrew culture, which also serves as a community center to foster the sense of belonging to the Hebrew culture. Calderon was a co-founder and director of Elul, the egalitarian Bet Midrash for religious and secular men and women, in Jerusalem. One of Alma's most popular events is its annual all-night study session on Shavuot, in which thousands of secular Israelis gather on the beach of Tel Aviv to engage in Jewish learning.Famous Women's YahrzeitsGertrude Weil
- 6 Sivan 5731 (May 30, 1971). Outspoken activist on many issues including women's suffrage, labor reform and civil rights.Text Studies
Understanding Shavuot - These three Talmudic sources help you delve into the meaning of Shavuot. Understanding Shavuot
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Shavuot and the Lecha Dodi Connection - Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, the author of Lecha Dodi, also helped invent the practice of Tikkun Leil Shavuot, the all-night study session on Shavuot. This learning piece helps you explore the connections between the Sabbath Bride and Shavuot, while also providing a window into the relationship between God and the Jewish people.Shavuot Lecha Dodi
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version 4.0 or higher.] Activities
End of the Year Ceremony - Sivan may mark the final month Rosh Chodesh groups meet before summer break. Take time to reflect on the year and the Rosh Chodesh group, honor graduating seniors, and to share everyone's plans and blessings for the summer. This may be coordinated with Hillel's text study "Blessed be Your Coming Blessed be Your Going."
Study Torah - Choose a topic of interest to the group and spend time studying traditional Jewish sources on it.
Eating Dairy - There is a tradition to eat dairy foods on Shavuot because we presumably did not know the laws of slaughtering animals until after receiving the Torah and therefore could not eat kosher meat. Some traditional Shavuot foods include cheesecake and blintzes. Spend time preparing a dairy dish, or have an ice cream sundae party.Conversations
Torah - On Shavuot we received the Torah. The Torah is the central book of Judaism, and the word Torah often stands for the entire collection of Jewish sacred texts, and may even be synonymous with Judaism. Discuss what the Torah and Jewish tradition mean to you. Do you engage in Torah study on a regular basis? What topics most interest you?
School's Out for Summer - Sivan may mark the final time your Rosh Chodesh group meets before summer break. Take time to reflect back on the school year that is coming to a close and discuss everyone's plans for the summer.