Check out these Shavuot sites for creative study, menu ideas

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They're not kidding; few Jewish sites have bothered with Shavuot pages. And sadly, some organizations that had first-rate Shavuot sites last year haven't bothered to update things for Shavuot 5760.

But never mind: If you're interested in enhancing the holiday, there are a few places on the Net that can give you a hand.

Start with the aforementioned, at

Here you'll find some creative menu ideas for Shavuot, ideas for all-night study sessions and some of the history of the holiday.

As usual, the emphasis is on information and activities for the whole family. There are also plenty of Shavuot stories.

One of the most intriguing Shavuot sites is run by CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a group that keeps plugging away at the twin issues of learning and pluralism.

The site is the headquarters for a "National Unity Shavuot," bringing together Jews of all types for "a night of learning and celebration."

The CLAL site describes how you can participate through online texts and discussion forums, and offers study materials you can download and use with your congregation or family. And there are links to unity Shavuot events in a number of cities around the country. Check it out at

Check out Aish HaTorah's big, slick site for lots of detailed information and study material, including a good explanation for all-night "Torahthons." Among the essays: an interesting description of accuracy in creating Torah scrolls. It's at

Jewish Heritage Online Magazine has about a dozen articles on Shavuot topics, including the multiple meanings of Shavuot, the floral traditions of the holiday and "the culinary art of Shavuot."

There's also a short story for children and a mystical view of the Shavuot rituals.

This is a nice online publication that keeps getting nicer. You can find it at

The Jewish Outreach Institute offers holiday basics and stories, including this one: "Even the Messiah Has a Dysfunctional Family." Go to

The Orthodox Union's Shavuot study materials are buried in the OU home page, but it's worth the effort of getting there.

Especially interesting is a collection of lectures on Shavuot topics in RealAudio format, so you can listen instead of read. The OU site also offers one of the best descriptions of the special customs of the holiday. It's at default.htm

Another good site for serious study on the subject: Project Genesis, a kind of Jewish online correspondence school. Genesis offers some 20 divrei Torah on the subject, useful for Jewish cybernauts who want to go beyond the basics. yomtov/shavuos

And the World Zionist Organization has a modest collection of Shavuot essays, including a fascinating one on Numerology and Shavuot. Check it out at holidays.htm#shav

Oh yeah, don't forget about cooking. Go to this site for a huge collection of Shavuot dairy recipes, collected by participants in rec. food.cuisine.Jewish, an Internet "newsgroup." It's at category.cgi?category=SHAVUOT

The writer is a Washington-based correspondent who has been writing about Jewish Web sites since the early 1990s. His columns alternate with those of Mark Mietkiewicz. Besser can be reached at [email protected]