Honoring traditions

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By Kirsten Laskey

Shavu’ot is a harvest festival. It is a two-day holiday that falls seven weeks after the second night of Passover. In ancient Israel, it started with harvesting barley at Passover and before moving on to wheat at Shavu’ot. People would bring the first fruit of their fields to the Temple of Jerusalem.

It is more than just a harvest; Shavu’ot also commemorates the receiving of the Torah, which is a significant event, said Sy Stange, board member and religious chairwoman of Los Alamos Jewish Center, because when the Jewish people received their holy book, the process of becoming a free people and seizing their own destiny had begun.

While the harvest has faded away, other traditions continue to be honored. Starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, the Los Alamos Jewish Center will be carrying one of them out.

An all-night study session will be held at the center. Traditionally, the session goes to dawn, Stange said, but this particular study usually goes to midnight.

The study session is held throughout the night, she explained, to amend the legend that said the Jews overslept the morning they were to receive the Torah.

During the study session, Stange said, Jewish traditions and text will be studied and guest speakers from the community will be invited to lead discussions and lectures about Jewish topics such as the Book of Ruth, Talmud and Kabbalah.

“The general idea is to try to increase everyone’s knowledge ee to spend some time thinking about their own understanding of Judaism,” Stange said.

She added the session not only offers an opportunity to listen to lectures, but also allows participants to discuss, question and offer their own points of view.

The community is invited to attend the session.

In addition to the study session, Yizkor, a memorial service for the dead, will be recited at noon Tuesday at the Jewish Center.