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Israel Travel Blog >> June 5 >> Highlights and Tips
 
 Jewish Harvest Festival of Shavuot
 
This weekend Israel will be celebrating the Jewish harvest festival – Shavuot. The Torah mandates that on Shavuot the Hebrews accepted the Torah and became a nation committed to serving God. In the Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks, Festival of Reaping and Day of the First Fruits: Shavuot was the first day on which individuals could bring the Bikkurim (first fruits) to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Bikkurim were brought from the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8).
 
These days the holiday is celebrated in many ways. In Agricultural Israel, on Kibutzs and Moshavs Bikkurim ceremonies are being held in joyful harvest festival atmosphere. A more religious form of celebration is to attend the synagogue, wearing white, and to read the book of Ruth which corresponds with Shavout and is traditionally read during the holiday. Some may stay up all night for an all-night-learning–spree called Tikun Leil Shavuot. According to a story in the Midrash, the night before the Torah was given, the Israelites retired early to be well-rested for the momentous day ahead, but they overslept and Moses had to wake them up while God was already waiting on the mountaintop. To rectify this flaw in the national character, religious Jews stay up all night to study the Torah. But not only religious Jews stay up and learn all night, in recent years, possibly under New Age and Kabalistic influence, secular Jews participate in all sorts of alternative and reform all-night-shavout-studying.
 
Other lovely rituals of the holiday are dressing in white and eating dairy foods. There are few possible explanations for the dairy eating practice on Shavuot, one is dating back to King Solomon's portrayal of the Torah as "honey and milk are under your tongue" (Song of Songs 4:11).
 Shavuot in Israel
Many Special Shavuot Events will take place this weekend and for those who wish to experience the holiday and its rituals here are a few suggestions:
Dairy farms across Israel will hold ceremonies and will offer special tours and cheese tasting. And since you cant have cheese without wine, the wineries will join the celebration and most of them will offer tours and tastings of their own.
In Jerusalem, the Annual Guided Tours Marathon of Yad Ben Tzvi will take place this weekend (June 5-9), with over 120 different tours through the streets of Jerusalem, some will include special performances by actors, musicians and writers.
The Milk and Honey Days Festival will take place in the Jeasrael Valley, with lots of music concerts, Israeli folk dancing marathon, guided nature walks and trips, lots of children workshops and family activities.



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