Skip Navigation

About ShavuotShare

Torah Ark

Torah Ark

Torah Ark from Adath Yeshurun Synagogue

Abraham Shulkin (American, b. Russia, 1852-1918)
Sioux City, Iowa, United States, 1899
  • Pinewood: hand-carved, openwork, stained, and painted
  • 125 x 96 x 30 in. (317.5 x 243.8 x 76.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the Jewish Federation of Sioux City, JM 48-56a-s
On view

Larger Image

close

Torah Ark

Torah Ark from Adath Yeshurun Synagogue

close

Torah Ark from Adath Yeshurun Synagogue

close

Listen

The holiday of Shavuot (Hebrew for "Weeks") falls exactly seven weeks after Passover. Like the other Jewish pilgrimage festivals (Passover and Sukkot), Shavuot carries both agricultural and historical significance. In ancient Israel, Shavuot marked the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was also the time of the "first fruits," when the early summer crops were harvested and brought as offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Historically, Shavuot is believed to be the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Many communities acknowledge this connection by holding a Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an all-night Torah study session. It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot as well. There are many explanations for this. One reason is the belief that the Torah is akin to milk in its ability to sustain the Jewish people. It is also traditional on Shavuot to decorate homes and synagogues with beautiful spring flowers.