Shavuot, the Festival of “Weeks,” is celebrated seven weeks after Passover, 50 days after the first Seder. Along with Passover and Sukkot, Shavuot was one of the three pilgrimage festivals in the Torah, when ancient Israelites were commanded to appear in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruits of their harvest. Shavuot also commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the source of wisdom for the Jewish community and Western Civilization.

Click here to learn about Shavuot Together: An Evening of Learning & Celebration, a North Peninsula Jewish Collaboration program on June 11, 2024.

The Texts of the Holiday

Every person has a special portion in the Torah, therefore Torah appears to us as water, reflecting our own souls.—Sfat Emet, Chasidic rabbi 19th century

Two sacred texts support Shavuot’s themes of receiving the Torah in every generation. One special synagogue-based tradition is chanting the Ten Commandments at sunrise, re-enacting the initial revelation at Mount Sinai. This service is often the culmination of the Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an all-night Torah study session, inspired by Kabbalistic Jewish practice in 16th century Tzfat and still popular in many communities and synagogues.

The other primary text read on Shavuot is the Book of Ruth. The story of Ruth shares a very human tale of two women trying to keep their family together during difficult circumstances. Ruth becomes a poignant role model as an early convert to Judaism, saying to her mother-in-law Naomi the famous phrase: “Wherever you go I shall go, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Together, these two texts remind us that anyone can become part of the Jewish community and feel a special connection to this beautiful tradition.

Edible Symbols of the Holiday

Enjoying dairy products has become a favorite custom of Shavuot, as both the words of Torah and the land of Israel are likened to milk and honey. Cheesecake, cheeseboards, cheese blintzes, and even ice cream tend to be popular at Shavuot celebrations. Shavuot also marks the transition from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest, so pastries of fine flour tend to make a special appearance.

Counting the Omer

The period between Passover and Shavuot is a time of transition and transformation. We experience a mental shift from being oppressed by Pharoah to being in relationship to God. For the 49 days from Seder to Shavuot, we can partake in a beautiful spiritual practice of evaluating our personal and divinely given qualities, such as humility, perseverance, kindness, discipline, and balance. Each day is an opportunity to meditate on a unique blend of two of these qualities. Ideally, when we arrive at Shavuot on Day 50, we feel prepared to take on the wisdom of Torah with a pure and open heart.

Questions to Explore for All Faiths and Backgrounds

Rather than asking, “Did God write the Torah?” we might inquire, “What does the Torah teach us?”

How can we each work towards self-reflection and character refinement so that we better receive the teachings of our wisdom traditions?

How might we open our hearts, families, and communities to people who want to join us on our journey, like Naomi did for Ruth?

What foods gives you such joy that its taste lifts you up in celebration?

Hours of Operation

For Specific Schedules, Please See Schedules Submenu

Center Hours
  • Mon - Thur 5 am - 9 pm (Group Ex by Reservation)
  • Fri 5 am - 6 pm (Group Ex by Reservation)
  • Sat & Sun 7 am - 6 pm (Group Ex by Reservation)
Admin Office Hours
  • Mon-Fri 8 am – 4 pm
Log In to Register!
Yoga students stretching on mats at the PJCC yoga studio
MyPJCC Log In Now
With MyPJCC, You Can:
  • Sign Up for Fitness Classes
  • Access Virtual Classes
  • Register for PJCC Programs
  • And More
Manage Your Account
  • Update Contact Info
  • Pay for Program Registrations Online
  • Keep Track of Registrations & Purchased Services
Parents and two kids on a bench smiling outside
Get to Know MyPJCC Learn More
Visit Our Resource Page To:
  • Download the New MyPJCC App
  • Read our FAQ
  • And More
2 Ways to Search PJCC
  • Adult & Youth Classes & Programs
  • Aquatics Programs & Swim Classes
  • Community Engagement Opportunities
  • Cultural Arts Programs
  • Jewish Life Programs
  • Preschool
  • Sports & Recreation Programs