Below is a collection of Shavuot lesson plans, videos, and articles created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.  

 

Shavuot Holiday Overview

  • What: Shavuot is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the gathering of the harvest and the anniversary of receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai. During the times of the Beit Hamikdash (Temple), Shavuot was one of the three pilgrimage holidays (the Shalosh Regalim), in which Jews from all over Israel came to Jerusalem to bring sacrifices in the Temple. On Shavuot, the Bikkurim, or first fruits of the field were brought as a special sacrifice. Shavuot is also the culmination of the seven-week period that began on Pesach called the Omer, which is commemorated with a daily count called Sefirat HaOmer
  • When:  On the Hebrew calendar, its official date is the sixth of the month of Sivan. In Israel, the holiday is celebrated for one day and throughout the rest of the world, the holiday is celebrated for two days. This year, the holiday begins at nightfall on Thursday, May 28, 2020.  
  • How:  Shavuot has many customs and traditions, which include: reading the Book of Ruth (Megillat Rut); eating dairy products; decorating homes and synagogues with greenery and flowers to celebrate the harvest and to recall the lush and floral Mt. Sinai; studying Torah throughout the night (this is often referred to as Tikkun Leil Shavuot), and more. 
Shavuot Vocabulary
English Transliteration

Translation

Hebrew

Sefirat Ha’Omer

The Count of the Omer

ספירת העומר

Har Sinai

Mount Sinai (the place where the Torah was received)

הר סיני

Matan Torah

Receiving the Torah

מתן תורה

Luchot HaBrit

The Ten Commandments (tablets)

לוחות הברית

BikkurimFirst Fruits (brought to the Temple during Shavuot)ביכורים
Chag HaKatzirThe Harvest Festivalחג הקציר
Megillat RutThe Book of Ruth (read on Shavuot)מגילת רות
Shavuot Themes
  • Harvest, the connection between nature and God
  • Receiving the Torah
  • Faith and belief (especially from the story of Ruth)

**Need lessons for distance learning? Look for the  💻 icon below. **

LESSON PLANS and Resources

💻 Shavuot Padlet – This interactive, collaborative bulletin board activity for elementary to middle school students allows students to expressively learn about Shavuot customs and traditions. Created by The Lookstein Center, this online activity is very adaptable to a virtual classroom.
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Midrashic Moments: Putting Art and Spirit Into Action – This lesson plan from The Lookstein Center’s journal, Jewish Educational Leadership, uses the story of Ruth as a prompt for an interactive, arts-based activity for middle school students. This lesson includes instructions for adaption to the virtual classroom.
💻 Shavuot: The Shnei Luchot HaBrit –  In this lesson for high school students, the division of the tablets are explored and examined. Written by The Lookstein Center. This lesson includes instructions for adaption to the virtual classroom.
Shavuot Lesson Plans and Resources from the National Library of Israel – These resources include lesson plans, activities, Shavuot recipes, and more.
Shavuot Toolkit from Jewish Interactive – These comprehensive resources include innovative and engaging activities for teaching this festival to children.
Shavuot Resources from the Israeli Ministry of Education – These activities include: videos, digital activities, games, and more.
Shavuot Lesson & Programming Ideas from the Jewish Agency –  These resources include programming ideas for students of all ages.
Shavuot Social Story from JTeach– In this activity, a social story is read to or with students to give them an idea of both the holiday and what to expect.
Shavuot Activities for Kids from MyJewishLearning – These resources include a number of ways that we can connect our children and students to the special holiday of Shavuot.

 

VIDEOS

What is Shavuot? – This explanatory from Bimbam gives an overview of the holiday and its main customs and traditions.
The Book of Ruth: A Music Video for Shavuot – This video from Bimbam tells the story of Megillat Rut through a song.
Shavuot – The Day that Shook the World – This video from Aish tells the story of Matan Torah.
Shavuot: The Scandalous Backstory of Ruth and Boaz – This video from Aleph Beta delves more deeply into the story and characters in Megillat Rut.
Shavuot Medley – This animated medley by Micha Gamerman includes classic Shavuot songs.