The Family Shavuot program was inspired by an Israeli member who wanted to share particular observances of Shavuot that she had experienced in Israel. This event was open to all families at the temple. It had educational, social action, community and religious components. An Israeli family and our staff decorated the room with greenery, pictures from the chalutzim (pioneers) celebrating Shavuot in the 1950s, and photos of Shavuot being celebrated on a kibbutz and in the city today. They also recorded a CD of their favorite Shavuot songs which we played as people gathered for the program. Participants were taught about the four names of Shavuot, customs and the first fruits. They participated in a treasure hunt of learning and activities. Families brought two baskets. One basket was kept by the family and the second basket was donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
The classrooms and the hallways were covered with Israeli and Shavuot posters, pictures, and text which contained information for the treasure hunt. Following the treasure hunt, everyone participated in lively Israeli dancing. Families were taught a dance that included the baskets they had just made. A lunch of blintzes was served, followed by the story, “A Mountain of Blintzes,” by Barbara Diamond Goldin, for young children and a text study with adults and teens. The Jewish Parent Page from the Union for Reform Judaism website on Shavuot was also handed out for the families to take home.
RESOURCES: Family Program Invite; Schedule; Shavuot Treasure Hunt Pamphlet; Shavuot Text Study