Chag Sameach.  In observance of Shavuot, the JCC will close early today, Saturday, May 23 at 5:30 PM and will remain closed on Sunday, May 24th. The JCC will reopen on Monday, May 25th (Memorial Day) from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Click here for more building hours.

Weekly Shabbat Messages

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, May 22, 2015Click here to view our archived Shabbat messages.

Shabbat and Shavuot

The end of this Shabbat transitions into one of our major holidays - Shavuot – one of the three Pilgrim Holidays during which Israelites were expected to make the journey with their sacrifices. There has always been a little confusion about Shavuot. Most Jews know it as the holiday which marks the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and it is known by its second name, “Zman Matan Torah – The Time of the Giving of the Torah. The Torah itself, however, describes it as a harvest holiday – the holiday of the first fruits, primarily wheat.  Apparently, during the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, when people brought their baskets of sacrifices to the Temple, it was known ONLY as a harvest festival. The date of the holiday is the sixth of the month of Sivan. The Torah itself tells us that the revelation on Mt. Sinai happened in the third month (Sivan), so after the destruction of the Temple, when sacrifices could no longer be brought, the rabbis emphasized the Torah-Giving aspect of Shavuot – and that is how we’ve celebrated ever since.

Another confusion is about the actual date of the holiday. According to the Torah, 49 days are counted after Passover, and the 50th day is the celebration of Shavuot. The days are marked by “The waving of the sheaves.” A sheaf of wheat was waved every day between Passover and Shavuot to mark the period. However, the commandment in the Torah is a little confusing:

An you shall count unto you from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall there be complete, even to the day after the seventh week shall you number fifty days; and you will present a new meal-offering unto the Lord.

Wait a minute! The day after the Sabbath? Does that mean the Sabbath during Passover? If so, Shavuot would ALWAYS be on a Sunday, right? The Rabbis two thousand years ago, however, interpreted the word “Sabbath” in this case to be “The Day of Rest.” To them, the term seemed to mean the first day of Passover which was, after all, a day of rest. So for most of world wide Jewry, each year Shavuot occurs on a different day of the week. However, for the Karaites, a Seventh Century Jewish sect that rejected Rabbinic law and broke away from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, Shavuot is ALWAYS celebrated on a Sunday. Part of the Karaite ideology is to read the Torah literally – and therefore the day after the Sabbath is indeed Sunday. This year is special, however. Shavuot IS celebrated on a Sunday, and both Karaites and Rabbinic Jews will be celebrating Shavuot on the same day!

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

 

Past Shabbat Messages

Shabbat & Secret Jews - Friday, April 26, 2013

Out of the Land of Heaven - Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Shavuot - Friday, May 10, 2013

Cakes on Shabbat - Friday, May 17, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part I) - Friday, May 24, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part II) - Friday, May 31, 2013

Solomon's Temple and the Shabbat - Friday, June 7, 2013

Shabbat Starts When? - Friday, June 14, 2013 & June 13, 2014

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part I - Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 2 - Friday, June 28, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 3 - Friday, July 5, 2013

Crypto Jews and the Shabbat - Friday, July 12, 2013

Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation - Friday, July 19, 2013

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, July 26, 2013

Angels and Shabbat - Friday, August 2, 2013

Shabbat in the Land of the Midnight Sun - Friday, August 9, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem As Told By Jody-  Friday, August 16, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem II As Told By Jody - Friday, August 23, 2013

The Streets of Jerusalem - Friday, August 30, 2013

The Final Heat – Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, September 13, 2013

Species, Species and More Species - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shabbat Breishit - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Evening & Morning - Friday, October 4, 2013

Singing and the Sabbath - Friday, October 11, 2013 & Friday, May 9, 2014

The Rainy Season - Friday, October 18, 2013

The Triennial Torah Cycle - Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sabbath and the Temple - Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is All In the Timing - Friday, November 8, 2013

Challah - Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is the Challah Braided? - Friday, November 22, 2013

Shabbat, Thanksgivukkah and Beyond - Friday, November 29, 2013

Carrying on Shabbat - Friday, December 6, 2013

Eruv Art - Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness Continued - Friday, December 27, 2013

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 3, 2014

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 10, 2014

Shabbat and Trees - Friday, January 17, 2014

Strangers in our Midst - Friday, January 24, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part I - Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part II - Friday, February 7, 2014

Shabbat, Babylonians, Tacitus, and the Communists - Friday, February 14, 2014

The Shabbat Umbrella - Friday, February 21, 2014

Lighting Shabbat Candles - Friday, February 28, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, March 7, 2014

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, March 14, 2014

Shabbat in Amsterdam - Friday, March 21, 2014

Ahad Ha’am and the Shabbat - Friday, March 28, 2014

Shabbat at the JCCA Biennial - Friday, April 4, 2014

Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Sabbath - Friday, April 11, 2014

Challah on the Shabbat During Passover? - Friday, April 18, 2014

Shabbat and the Counting of the Omer - Friday, April 25, 2014

Shabbat and the First Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Friday, May 2, 2014

Sabbaths and Sabbaticals - Friday, May 16, 2014

Light and Dark and theShabbat - Friday, May 23, 2014

Learning on Shabbat - Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shabbat After Shavuot - Friday, June 6, 2014

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, June 20, 2014

The Longest Friday of the Year - Friday, June 27, 2014

Shabbat and the 4th of July - Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fast of Tammuz - Friday, July 11, 2014

The Three Weeks - Friday, July 18, 2014

Haftarot for the Three Weeks - Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ninth of Av - Friday, August 1, 2014

Sabbath Peace - Friday, August 8, 2014

All You Need is Love - Friday, August 15, 2014

The Secular Shabbat - Friday, August 22, 2014

Labor Day - Friday, August 29, 2014

Elul - Friday, September 5, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, September 12, 2014

The Last Shabbat of 5774 - Friday, September 19, 2014

Shabbat Shuvah - Friday, September 26, 2014

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, October 3, 2014

Species, Species and More Species - Friday, October 10, 2014 

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, October 31, 2014

Akeidat Yitzchak... The Binding of Isaac - Friday, November 7, 2014

Saving the Jewish People - Friday, November 14, 2014

Shabbat and the Artist - Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving - Friday, November 28, 2014

Shabbat and the ‘Cello - Friday, December 5, 2014

Short Friday - Friday, December 12, 2014

The Seven Day Week - Friday, December 19, 2014

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 26, 2014

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 2, 2015

The Kiddush - Friday, January 9, 2015

Bread - Friday, January 16, 2015

Covering the Challah - Friday, January 23, 2015

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 30, 2015

A Kind of World to Come - Friday, February 6, 2015

Orchestras on Shabbat? - Friday, February 20, 2015

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, February 27, 2015

The Word “Shabbat” - Friday, March 6, 2015

Shabbat and Daylight Savings Time - Friday, March 13, 2015

Saturday Not Sunday - Friday, March 20, 2015

The Shabbat of Kings - Friday, March 27, 2015

The Seder/Shabbat Confluence - Friday, April 3, 2015

Shabbat: Passover and Not Passover - Thursday, April 9, 2015

Post Pesach Shabbat - Friday, April 17, 2015

Shabbat in Israel - Friday, April 24, 2015

Two Shabbatot: Israel and America - Friday, May 1, 2015

Tabernacle. Temple. Synagogue - Friday, May 15, 2015

Shabbat and Shavuot - Friday, May 22, 2015