This week will begin with the Memorial Day holiday, and concludes with Shavuot.
The absence of the traditional picnics, parades, and holiday sales provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day – to remember our fallen military personnel.
Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is traditionally celebrated by study.
Rabbi Rachel Ain of the Sutton Place Synagogue in New York City shared a special connection between the two holidays:
“Memorial Day recalls the commitment of those who had a made the ultimate sacrifice for something larger than themselves – the community and their country. On Shavuot we recall the community of Israelites who, after escaping slavery in Egypt, came together to accept God’s greatest gift, the Torah.
With these two holidays we recognize the moments that unite us while we continue physical distancing. And we look forward to the day when we can come together again as a united community of people of all backgrounds and beliefs.
This week we remember all those who bravely have made our lives possible through their sacrifice. And remember the story of our people, the giving of the Torah, and our mission to help to repair the world -- tikun olam."