Cheesecake with strawberries and cream.

Get your fill of all-night cheesecake and Torah at these Shavuot events

Shavuot is for celebrating both the grain harvest of the late spring and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Unfortunately, the Israelites are believed to have overslept for the latter event, so it’s on us to compensate by studying Torah all night. This year the fun begins the evening of May 19, which works out well for the 9-to-5 crowd since that’s a Saturday.

It’s also traditional to commemorate Shavuot feasting on dairy products, so if you like staying up all night and eating ice cream, this might just be your favorite holiday.

Here are a few of the public Shavuot events around the Bay Area this year. All events are free and take place on May 19, unless noted.


East Bay

Congregation Beth El will host a dinner and service led by this year’s b’nai mitzvah students, with presentations by high schoolers speaking about “What I Believe.” After the 6 p.m. dinner and 7 p.m. service, attendees are invited to join the JCC East Bay all-night study event. At Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley.

The JCC East Bay will be hosting its 30th annual Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an all-night Torah study beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 7 a.m. Attendees are invited to “come for an hour or stay the whole night.” Co-sponsored by 13 organizations, the event includes free child care with a sleeping room for those 2 and up (parents must register by May 15 and provide bedding). At JCC, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Temple Beth Abraham hosts three days of Shavuot services: a family-friendly service followed by study session on May 19; a service and Kiddush luncheon on May 20; and a second-day service on May 21 with Yizkor and Kiddush luncheon. At Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland.


North Bay

Congregation Ner Shalom will present “Blintzes for the Soul,” featuring dairy delights and Torah study from 6:30 p.m. until midnight. At Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati.

Congregation Shomrei Torah will host a study session from 8:30 p.m. until midnight with scholar-in-residence Rabbi Rami Shapiro, a noted teacher, author and speaker about liberal Judaism and spirituality. With cheesecake. At Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.

Osher Marin JCC hosts a family-friendly celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. with ice cream and hands-on activities, including making seed bags to pay tribute to Shavuot’s agricultural roots. Thursday, May 17 at JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael.


San Francisco

The JCC of San Francisco and Congregation Beth Sholom are presenting “Where Sinai Meets California Street.” The event begins with dairy buffet and community learning at the JCC from 6 to 9 p.m. After that, a large group will walk about 1½ miles to Beth Sholom for a musical performance by the Levoná Ensemble and Torah study from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In partnership with Congregation Sherith Israel and Lehrhaus Judaica. Begins at JCC, 3200 California St.

Congregation Sha’ar Zahav hosts a community learning event from 6:30 p.m. until just before midnight. At Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St.


South Bay

The Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto will host a Shavuot study session in Hebrew from 7 p.m. until just before midnight. At JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.

Addison-Penzak JCC offers Shavuot family camping for Russian-speaking Jewish families May 19-20. The package includes one night and three kosher meals, plus rock climbing, bonfires, s’mores and other fun family activities. In partnership with Russian-Speaking Jews of the S.F.-based Federation and PJ Library. At Monte Toyon Camp and Conference Center, 220 Cloister Lane, Aptos.

Congregation Beth Am hosts an all-night Torah study session, followed the next morning by a Yizkor service. At the synagogue, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. Study from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.; Yizkor at 9:30 a.m.

Peninsula Sinai presents “Torah My Way,” which explores different approaches to Shavuot learning, including yoga, art, music and meditation in addition to traditional text study from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Includes dinner, $10. At Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay Ave., Foster City.