Many traditional Shavuot foods, like cheesecake, are hard for lactose-intolerant Jews to digest. (Pixabay)

Virtual Shavuot events around the Bay

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Shavuot is traditionally a time of year when Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people by studying Torah all night long and eating lots of dairy foods, especially cheesecake. This year, community events will be held as usual, albeit online — but you’ll have to provide your own cheesecake. Here is a sampling of the virtual public Shavuot events presented by Bay Area organizations, ranging from two-hour sessions to all-nighters. All events are free unless noted. Shavuot this year starts at sunset May 28 and ends at nightfall May 30.

The Tikkun Leil Shavuot presented by the JCC of the East Bay is the largest such undertaking in the Bay Area, where upwards of 1,000 people show up for an array of classes, services and celebrations. This year’s sessions will be online from the afternoon well into the night, with 30 sponsoring organizations and dozens of teachers. As Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud, director of public programs at the JCC East Bay put it, “Sheltering in place cannot stop our community from gathering to learn, support and be ‘together’ in celebration of Shavuot like we have for 32 years!” 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, May 31. Registration required.

Reboot and the Jewish Emergent Network present Dawn, an all-night Shavuot cultural arts festival featuring comedy, music, food, learning, yoga, meditation, sound baths, cooking classes, dancing and conversation, with speakers including TV writer Jill Soloway Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and Bay Area cookbook author Gabi Moskowitz. Reboot CEO David Katznelson says there are advantages to hosting Shavuot online, “with having a non-physical-based platform, we are able to gather an unparalleled diversity of artists and thought leaders creating truly inspirational Jewish content.” 7 p.m. Thursday, May 28 to 6 a.m. Friday, May 29. No registration needed.

Becoming, presented by the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto and Bina, the Jewish Movement for Social Change, includes online workshops in English and Hebrew, speakers and musical performances. The event will feature a keynote by Ruby Namdar, author of the Sapir Award-winning novel “The Ruined House.” $18. 8:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30 and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31. $18. Registration required.

JIMENA and JDC Entwine co-host a gathering to celebrate a Mizrachi Shavuot and Shabbat, led by Rabbi Tsipi Gabai, with percussionist Katja Cooper. Learn Sephardic songs and Moroccan Jewish traditions. 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 29. Registration required.

Stay up all night and trade ideas with Moishe House in a 25-hour Zoom session featuring speakers from all over the world on topics ranging from Chinese Judaism to podcasts to beer. 7 p.m. Friday, May 29 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Registration required.

The Southside Jewish Collaborative holds a Tikkun Leyl Shavuot with themes of isolation and reintegration, featuring Rabbis Danny Gottlieb, Katie Mizrahi, Pam Frydman and Shana Leon. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 28. Registration required.

Rebecca Landau
Rebecca Landau

Rebecca Landau was J.'s editorial assistant from 2019-2021.