Back to Back Issues Page
Happy Shavuot from Jerusalem
May 13, 2013

Happy Shavuot from Jerusalem!

This Wednesday, May 15, 2013, is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot – the Feast of Tabernacles, in English. It’s a religious holiday, an agricultural celebration, a cheesecake fest and the official kick-off of summer in Jerusalem, all rolled into one!

Shavuot in Jerusalem

The Jewish holiday of Shavuos celebrates the day the Torah was given at Mt. Sinai. It is traditionally celebrated by studying the religious texts all night long, decorating homes with flowers and greenery and eating dairy foods.

In Israel, this last point leads to a national orgy of cheesecakes, blintzes, lasagna and any other dairy foods you might imagine. You'll find you can always tell when Shavuot is approaching in Jerusalem because grocery stores start stocking up on extra-large containers of sour cream and cheesecake kits, complete with fruit for the topping. If you're a cheesecake or blintz fan, you'll be in heaven – trying out all the varieties at the different bakeries in town is a seasonal passion.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the place to be early in the morning, when thousands of people who have stayed up all night rally for morning services. Expect thousands of people to show up for the Priestly Blessing during the morning service on Wednesday. It's definitely an impressive sight.

Another place you might want to visit now is King David’s tomb on Mt. Zion, just outside the Old City Walls. Shavuot is both his birthday and the anniversary of his death. This explains the tradition of reciting Psalms during the holiday.

You’ll find more from holiday recipes (cheesecake, yes!), fun facts and inspiration, here.

If you aren't in Jerusalem, remember that you can always send your prayers to the Western Wall through our site. (Your prayers are strictly confidential and are deleted from our system as soon as they are delivered to the Wall.)

This is a free service that we consider a privilege to provide. Jewish tradition, however, teaches that prayer and charity, together, have the power to change Divine decrees. So please consider super-charging your prayer with a donation to our charity fund for disabled children in Jerusalem. Your donation, however small, would help provide much needed services, therapy and medications for severely disabled children in Jerusalem, as well as food to help them enjoy the upcoming holiday.

Summer in Jerusalem

It promises to be a hot, exciting one. We’ve been having a heat wave, so be sure to chill with Israel’s contribution to cool drinks: limonana, a delicious blend of lemonade, ice and fresh mint that has a quirky history all its own.

While you sip your drink, you can anticipate Jerusalem’s very first Formula One race next month. Race cars around the ramparts of the Old City? Hmm … we’re reserving judgment for now, but surely many people with a lot to say about that!

In the meantime, you can now enjoy Jerusalem’s newest – and longest – park. It’s called Messilah Park and follows the old railroad tracks. The tracks date from the Ottoman period and have been abandoned for decades. There are benches and bicycle path. When the park is completed, it will be seven kilometers long and cross seven different neighborhoods. It might take a while for the newly planted trees to grow enough to provide shade, but in time, this should be a lovely spot to enjoy outdoor activities. Check it out and let us know what you think of it!

The park starts at the Old Train Station, which has also been fully renovated and turned into a venue for boutiques and a farmer’s market. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, 2013, from 10:00 to 18:00. If you aren’t at home, busy preparing for Shavuot, which starts that evening, drop by. There’ll be lots of stuff going on there – music, food and street performers.

The new farmer’s market there is set to be a regular thing, on Tuesdays (15:00 – 22:00) and Fridays (10:00 to 15:00).

If you’re looking for a group activity, book a Jerusalem Scavenger Hunt. You’ll discover things about Jerusalem you never knew – no matter how long you might have lived here! It’s lots of fun and a fabulous educational activity for older kids and teens.

For those of you planning a trip to Jerusalem this summer, be sure to arrange for your tour guide, choose a Jerusalem Walking Tour, or book any organized tours that you might be interested in sooner rather than later. They’re filling up fast!

And remember - don't leave home without your copy of our downloadable Intro to Jerusalem e-guidebook, so you'll know how to maximize your time here.

Just for fun, take a trip through time and visit Jerusalem of 100 years ago through this video clip: footage of Jerusalem filmed in 1913. It’s fascinating viewing.

May you have a wonderful holiday and may it inaugurate a fantastic summer for you and your family.

Safe journeys and may we see you soon, here, in Yerushalayim.

eTeacherHebrew eTeacherGroup
Receive your very own eTeacher cookbook! Learn Hebrew with Israeli Music
eTeacher Biblical
eTeacher Hebrew The Very Best of Israel - 2 CDs + lyrics book

Join one of our online Hebrew courses and receive
Be’teavon: Eat your way through Israel in a day
– an eTeacher guide through Israeli food, with explanations and dictionaries on every page.

Click Here eTeacherHebrew

Don't Miss Out!

Please forward our newsletter to your friends. It is published bimonthly. If you don't want to miss anything in between newsletters, please subscribe to our RSS feed – that means Really Simple Syndication, and it couldn't be simpler.

Visit our blog and use the orange RSS button in the left-hand column to automatically add the feed to your feed reader. Or, copy and past this link into your feed reader:

We hope to see you soon in our favorite city. May you have a wonderful holiday!

Blessings from Jerusalem,
Like us on Facebook!
Follow us @FromJerusalem
Back to Back Issues Page