It’s always hard to be Jewish alone. It’s even harder at the holidays. We’re coming up to shavuot/sh’vues, so here are a few ideas for celebrating at home. You can find more information about the holiday and how to observe it, along with my Bobe Celia’s recipe for blintzes in God-Optional Judaism (availble from CSJO.org or from me, if you PM me).
1. Shavuos is a seasonal holiday. If you have kids at home, decorate your home with branches and flowers, real or created from materials at hand (like tissues).
2. Shavuos is a national holiday, celebrating the evolution of the Jewish people from a tribe ruled by its god to a civilization ruled by its laws. Go online to Sister Districts or Vote Forward and find out how you can advance the rule of law. Write letters and postcards telling people to check their voter registration status.
3. Shavuos is a holiday celebrating people who were not born Jewish but became Jewish. (See: book of Ruth, read on this holiday). Reflect on what makes a person Jewish. (The Secular Humanistic Jewish movement says that a person is Jewish who identifies with the history, cultures, people and fate of the Jews.)
4. Shavuos in its religious sense celebrates the 10 commandments. Write your own 10 statements of your values. Share with your family and friends.
5. Shavuos celebrates the barley harvest; it’s a First Fruits festival. What are the fruits of your labor over the past year? A work of art? A graduation? A new skill learned? A new baby?
6. Because Shavuos in its religious sense celebrates the giving of the Torah, it is a celebration of our written literature. Share with others the book that most influenced you in the past year.
7. Shavuos is a dairy holiday. Definitely eat cheesecake.