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, 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.
- 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.
The Count of the Omer
Mount Sinai (the place where the Torah was received)
Receiving the Torah
The Ten Commandments (tablets)
|Bikkurim||First Fruits (brought to the Temple during Shavuot)||ביכורים|
|Chag HaKatzir||The Harvest Festival||חג הקציר|
|Megillat Rut||The Book of Ruth (read on Shavuot)||מגילת רות|
- Harvest, the connection between nature and God
- Receiving the Torah
- Faith and belief (especially from the story of Ruth)
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. By The Lookstein Center.
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.
Shavuot: The Shnei Luchot HaBrit – In this lesson for high school students, the division of the tablets is explored and examined. By The Lookstein Center.
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.
What is Shavuot? – This explanatory video 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.