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Shavuot (literally “Weeks”) marks the conclusion of the seven week period of counting that begins on the second night of Passover. The two-day holiday is also called Z'man Matan Torateinu, the Season When Our Torah Was Given, as it marks the time when Moses received the commandments at Sinai. Shavuot is also an agricultural holiday, marking the beginning of the summer season. It is traditional on the first night of Shavuot to stay up all night studying Torah, almost as a reenactment of the preparations at Sinai. Liturgical additions include the reading of the Book of Ruth on the recitation of Yizkor memorial prayers on the second day of the festival.

At B’nai Israel, our annual Tikkun Leyl Shavuot (Evening of Study) is often accompanied by a festival dinner with traditional dairy foods. Members of the congregation lead study sessions on various topics and the evening is dedicated to the memories of Rabbi Henry and Yetta Segal. On Shavuot, our congregation also celebrates Confirmation, which recognizes the commitment of our tenth-graders to ongoing Jewish study in the Talmud Torah Upper School.

Shavuot services & programs

Congregational Shavuot Dinner
Thursday, May 25
6:30 PM – Appetizers and Dinner
$24/adult; $13/child (ages 3-12)
Celebrate the beginning of Shavuot with a delicious dinner! The main course will be fish so that we can enjoy dairy desserts in celebration of Shavuot. Vegetarian options are also available. At the end of dinner, our 9th and 10th grade students from the Lessans Talmud Torah will share their culminating presentation. Registration is due by Monday, May 22 at 12:00 PM.
Click here to register. 

Thursday, May 25
8:00 PM – Festival Ma’ariv Service

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot 
Thursday, May 25
Explore Jewish texts in new and meaningful ways as we engage in this annual late night tradition of studying Torah on Shavuot.


8:50–9:25 PM ROUND 1

Ted Meyerson – Advanced Medical Care Planning 
Learn how Advance Directives, MOLST, and Hospice can be used to keep you in control of your health care even if you cannot speak for yourself. Advance Medical Care Planning is important because it helps you retain your right to receive the kinds of treatments you would want, even if you became so ill you could not participate in discussions about your medical care. Mr. Meyerson has been a resident of Maryland for over sixty-five years. He holds an undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University and completed the Harvard Business School Smaller Company Management Program. Over the last 20 years, he has filled multiple roles as an advocate for seniors and as chair of the State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life. 

Dr. Peter B. Sherer – When is Abortion Medically Indicated?
There are a number of conditions that potentially make pregnancy very risky for the mother as well as pregnancy complications which can cause serious problems. Peter B. Sherer MD FACP past chairman, department of medicine, Holy Cross Hospital, past president, Montgomery County Medical Society; retired from practice of internal medicine and hematology-oncology. 

Rabbi Cheryl Stone – Spiritual Audacity: The Role of Conversion in the Bible and The Conversion Experience
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a 20th century theologian and philosopher, coined the phrase “Spiritual Audacity” with regard to conversion. Audacity means one who is willing to take bold risks. Conversion involves taking a risk.


9:45–10:20 PM  ROUND 2

Dr. Jonathan Silver –What’s Behind Israel’s Judicial Reforms and the Protests?
Israel’s Knesset is considering a set of reforms that would change the way its legislative and judicial systems relate to one another. Passionate advocates in favor of and in opposition to these reforms have mobilized and taken to domestic and international media to voice their arguments. Along the way, the issue of judicial reform has come to symbolize deep social cleavages running through Israeli society. Learn more about the reforms and the response with Dr. Jonathan Silver, editor of Mosaic, and the senior director of Tikvah Ideas, where he is also the Warren R. Stern Senior Fellow of Jewish Civilization. He is also the host of the Tikvah Podcast on which he has hosted hundreds of writers, rabbis, educators, military officers, artists, and political figures, including members of Israel’s Knesset, the U.S. Senate, and the prime minister of Israel.

Rabbi Michael Safra: The Sefat Emet on Shavuot
Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, also known by the title of his most famous work, the Sefat Emet, was a 19th century Hasidic master. In line with the Hasidic tradition, Sefat Emet looks inward to find God in the intimate interactions between individuals, the wisdom of Torah, and communal traditions. The spotlight on the individual makes these pre-modern texts very relevant to religious seeker. Rabbi Safra will share the teachings of the Sefat Emet as it pertains to Shavuot, a celebration of revelation. 

Teen Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
Thursday, May 25
8:30–10:20 PM
Rabbi Safra and Rabbi Berkowitz will each lead a session for our teens, with a snack break between the two sessions. Rabbi Safra will teach about "Tzedakah: The Jewish Approach to Giving," and Rabbi Berkowitz will teach about "Money and Power: When Good Leaders Go Bad, Where Do We Draw the Line?"
Shavuot Festival Morning Service 

Friday, May 26
9:00 AM

Tots Shavuot Celebration
Friday, May 26
10:30 AM
Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai! Cantor Josh will lead us in song to celebrate this momentous event, which will be followed by making our own edible candy Torahs, a craft, and a story! All are invited to stay for the congregational kiddush at approximately 11:45 AM.  

Minha, Kabbalat Shabbat, & Ma’ariv
Friday, May 26
6:15 PM

Shabbat & Shavuot Day II Festival Morning Services 
Saturday, May 27
9:00 AM (Yizkor at approximately 10:45 AM)
Shavuot Family Minyan (families with children in grades K–6)

Saturday, May 27
10:15 AM 
Sundaes on Saturday Shavuot Party

Saturday, May 27
During the Congregational Kiddush
We invite all of B'nai Israel to continue the traditional dairy “feast-itivies” on the second day of Shavuot, at this make-your-own-sundae party.

Minha Service for Shabbat & Shavuot Day II with 10th Grade Confirmation Ceremony
12:45 PM
Honor our 10th Grade Confirmation Class during the Minha service.

SHAVUOT Prayer book downloads

Siddur Sim Shalom Shabbat & Festival Evening

Siddur Sim Shalom Shabbat & Festival Morning

Torah Reading for First Day of Shavuot

Torah Reading for Second Day of Shavuot


Fri, December 8 2023 25 Kislev 5784