Shavuot

The ancient pilgrimage festival of Shavuot marks the culmination of the wheat harvest in Israel and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. 

The holiday is deeply tied to Midrashim, rabbinic narratives that illustrate biblical texts. It's traditional for Jewish people to nosh on cheesecake and other dairy foods as they participate in an all-night study of religious texts, inspired by a Midrash that states the Jewish people were sleeping when God gave them the Torah. Synagogues are usually decorated with flowers, honoring the same Midrash, which also states the wilderness of Sinai was awash with flowers and green pastures on Shavuot. In biblical times, Jews traveled to Jerusalem to give offerings at the Temple.

On campus, Shavuot often coincides with commencement. Hillels around the world help students celebrate the giving of the Torah as well as graduation from college, honoring each celebration for its emphasis on gaining knowledge and wisdom.