Shavuot Customs in Words and Pictures


This is a lesson plan provided by the National Library of Israel.

Without the temple in Jerusalem, most of the biblical mitzvot commanded for the observance of Shavuot are no longer possible.  As a result, new traditions have emerged over time. What are the sources of these traditions? How do the traditions differ in varying communities? In this lesson, learners will study Biblical and rabbinic sources, analyze primary sources and photographs from the National Library of Israel, and read first-person accounts of Shavuot celebrations. Thought provoking discussion prompts and engaging activities such as creating an infographic explaining the traditions of Shavuot, and interviewing adults about their childhood memories of Shavuot are featured in this resource.

The learner will:

  1. understand how the Shavuot traditions that developed over time add meaning to the holiday
  2. know the traditions associated with Shavuot and where they originated

be able to create an infographic or poster explaining the traditions of Shavuot

About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.
  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.
  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.
  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.

Link to the lesson plan:
Shavuot Customs in Words and Pictures

Student handouts, computer, projector

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