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Jewish Holidays: Shavuot: The other festival

Overview
Cast of Characters
The Story
A Holiday With Five Names?
Customs & Practices
FAQ


Glossary of Terms

Akdamut
An Aramaic poem, recited by Ashkenazim on Shavuot, which praises God and is read immediately before the Torah reading.

Ashkenazim
Jews whose descent traces back to Eastern or Northern Europe.

Atzeret
"Conclusion," another name for Shavuot, referring to the end of the period that began with Passover.

Chag HaBikkurim
"Holiday of the First Fruits," another name for Shavuot, since on this holiday the first fruits of the seven fruits of Israel were brought to the Holy Temple for an offering.

Chag HaKatzir
The "Festival of Harvest," another name for Shavuot, since the holiday takes place at the time of year when wheat is harvested.

Hamotzi
The blessing recited over bread.

Ketuvah
A love song, recited by Sephardim on Shavuot, which describes the "marriage contract" between God and the Jewish people.

Omer
The seven weeks counted between Passover and Shavuot.

Rosh Chodesh
The New Moon, or the beginning of a new Jewish month. Can be either one or two days.

Rosh HaShanah
The Jewish new year.

Sanhedrin
The high Jewish court, which would proclaim the New Moon after receiving testimony from witnesses.

Sephardim
Jews whose descent traces to Southern Europe, the east, and Middle Eastern countries.

Shavuot
The "Festival of Weeks." Comes seven weeks after Passover. Commemorates when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.

Shemini Atzeret
The eighth day of the festival Sukkot, and the day on which the Jewish prayer for rain is recited.

Sivan
The Jewish month in which Shavuot falls.

Sukkot
The festival in the fall that commemorates when the Jews lived in huts in the desert and God sheltered them with clouds. Falls on the 15th of the Hebrew month Tishrei.

Tikkun Leil Shavuot
The custom of staying up all night to study Torah on the first night of Shavuot.

Tishrei
The Jewish month that begins the new year with Rosh HaShanah.

Yom Kippur
The Jewish day of Atonement.

Zman Matan Torateinu
The "Time of Receiving our Torah," another name for Shavuot.
 
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