My Letterman-style Top Ten Reason To Love Shavuot:
10. Cheesecake Brownies. It’s like shooting heroine and cocaine at the same time..only a lot healthier and legal. Dairy and Shavuot go hand-in-hand, and since I seldom eat meat this holiday glorifies everything I love that makes me fat.
9. You get to remember who Ruth is. Ruth is the national symbol of Jewish feminists. I kinda wish we read her megillah instead of Esther’s: instead of booing Hamen, we’d be applauding the Moabite.
8. Everyone stays up late studying Torah. Or just rockin’ the kiddush. If you’re an early to bed, early to rise type, just read our backlog of Shavuot articles.
7. Converts get some respect…for about six hours. On Shavuot, you’re the most Jewish person in the room…even if you were born with the name Christopher Jesusman. And converts are generally the only people who know what Shavuot is in liberal circles, so you get to feel like some kind of tzadik for your intense knowledge.
6. Work restriction. This year is the best because it falls middle of the week, then it’s over, then it’s Shabbat. It’s like taking a week off, since you mentally check out from work a day before any holiday anyway.
5. It has that kinda made-up feeling. Shavuot is a fairly minhag heavy holiday, in the sense that Ruth, studying and milchig is pretty much all there is to it and the rest is just customs to fill in the time. I like that because you never have to worry about doing the wrong thing on Shavuot. Hanukkah is like that, too.
4. Weird conversations. I like Shavuot chavrutah with eccentric people, because the combo of staying up late and heavy religious discussion always goes in strange directions: people passing out, talking in their sleep, stoner-like debates about whether or not Boaz’s foot was actually a foot or a euphemism for…ya know…the male part.
3. Energy drinks. When I was in the rockabilly punk band The Love Drunks, I used to slam energy drinks laced with vodka. I found the combination helped me stay up really late, and mellow out at the same time. I’m not into that kinda thing anymore, but Shavuot is my one time a year where I gorge myself on Red Bull.
2. The diversity of Jewish events. If you really want to pull an all day and all nighter, find a small child and force them to chaperone you to a Chabad family event. The ice cream sundaes are always incredible. In the afternoons you can generally find some JCC-type of place doing a late afternoon event catching after school/before dinner crowd, and then you can party with the grown ups all night.
1. The Torah!!!!!!!!!!! Come on, forget all that cultural junk. It’s all about the Torah, people.