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Shavuot, which begins this year at sundown on the evening of Sunday, May 16, is the time when we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.
As we enter the Chag this year, our thoughts, prayers, and heavy hearts are once again with our extended families in Israel. The escalation towards war that took place this past week came as a surprise for most Israelis and indeed for Jews across the world. The image of my pregnant sister sitting on the floor of her miklat (bomb shelter) with her two-year-old in her arms and her husband holding them tight still haunts me. The image of Holocaust Survivors running into bomb shelters 76 years after the end of the Shoah burns in the back of my eyes. These images are typical of the past week for millions of Israelis living under the unbearable barrage of close to 2,000 rockets fired by Hamas into Israel. Where else in the world would such images be accepted? In Paris? London? New York? Unequivocally no. And yet somehow, the world is silent. I join the prayers of all those who believe in peace. We seek justice and transparency, understanding and acceptance.
This year, the festival of Shavuot demands us to demonstrate our strength and resilience as a community and as a nation of Jews united across the globe. When we received the Torah, it sparked a collective sense of responsibility for the welfare of our people and our community as a whole. We stood together as a nation at Mount Sinai and we will continue to stand together in strength and unity with our global Jewish community and our brothers and sisters in Israel.
The Jewish people are resilient. The Jewish people are strong. And most of all, we are a united nation that is compassionate, caring, loving, and always there for one another. Let us remember how incredible this community can be—here in Montreal and globally—especially during times of crisis.
A spring holiday, Shavuot is associated with growth. The days grow longer and the flowers and trees bloom and blossom into buds of hope and promise. We pray for a quiet and peaceful holiday for all Jews worldwide. We pray for a full and speedy recovery—refuah shlema—for all those who have been injured, and we say a prayer for our brothers and sisters in Israel, and for the soldiers of the IDF.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Chag Shavuot Sameach,
Chief Executive Officer, Federation CJA
"The Book of Ruth, always read on Shavuot, is the story of a convert from the land of Moav who clings to her mother-in-law, Noami. Ruth arrives in the Land of Israel a stranger with no connections, no history, and no friends. But this "Book of Kindness" is also the story of the Jewish People, a story about hope, resilience, and having the patience to see the big picture. Because Ruth, at the end of the Book, becomes the mother of Royalty and King David. It's the story that reminds us no matter where you come from, no matter how difficult things may be, a person is never more than a few acts of kindness away from royalty."
"More than a commemoration of what happened at Sinai, Shavuot is the revelation happening now. On Shavuot, the Torah is given anew to each of us, more deeply, meaningfully, and inwardly. Torah is the divine gift that keeps on giving and the blueprint of renewal."
"On Shavuot, the whole Jewish community - past, present, and future - stood together at Sinai. On Shavuot, we also tell the story of Ruth, the ultimate outsider who, through acts of loving kindness, became a hero of our people. May these journeys inspire us as we strengthen our community and deepen our Jewish lives."
« Quand la Thorah nous a été donnée, le monde aurait été détruit si nous ne l'avions pas acceptée, et les enfants ont été garants pour la transmettre. Les frontières séparant le ciel et la terre disparurent. La création sombra dans le silence jusqu'à ce que D.ieu apparaisse avec les Tables de la loi. La Thorah n'est pas derrière nous, mais a des siècles d'avance sur nos aspirations. Puisque D.ieu a épargné les enfants des répercutions graves de la Covid, ayons confiance en lui pour la suite. »