Free Shavuot Resource

ruthI just posted a free download on mountolivepress.com, my effort at serving Messianic Judaism with much-needed literature at low-cost (and some for free).

What I have prepared is a Shavuot Haggadah. It is incomplete, but there is more than enough in here to add to your Shavuot celebration. This is a project that will become a booklet (God-willing) in time for Shavuot 2010. (Incidentally, if anyone has suggestions of pieces to submit that could belong in the Shavuot Haggadah, I will consider them).

The Haggadah is planned to have the following contents, more than half of which are completed:

Contents

Laws and Traditions.

On the Obligation to Rejoice at Festivals.

The Five Days Preceding Shavuot.

Readings for Shavuot from Jewish literature.

On the Obligation to Remember Sinai, Visually and Audibly.

A Shavuot Seder.

Akdamut (A Shavuot Prayer).

Musings on the Megillah: Ruth.

Spiritual Insights for Messianic Judaism.

Here is the link to get if (free) and print it for your own use or synagogue/havurah use:

http://mountolivepress.com/Mount_Olive_Press/Downloads.html

And here is a reading for Shavuot that impacted me deeply. I found this in Philip Goodman’s Shavuot Anthology:

S.B. Unsdorfer, The Yellow Star (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1961).

Strangely enough it was on the pyre of the camp, in that hellhole of Buchenwald, that I received my first injection of vitamin R—Religious Revival.

A few days before our scheduled departure for Czechoslovakia, the camp loudspeakers blared out an announcement that the Jewish chaplain to the U.S. forces would be conducting religious services in the evening to mark the festival of Shavuot—the anniversary of the receiving of the Law by the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai.

Having lost my handwritten diary, as well as my Haggadah, during the march from Nieder-Orschel to Buchenwald, this announcement came as a pleasant yet disturbing surprise.

Since my childhood I had always looked forward eagerly to the arrival of our wonderful and inspiring festivals, and particularly so in the tragic war years. But I wondered whether we weren’t being put to test too soon. Who among those thousands of physical and mental cripples would want to attend services and prayers so soon after their tragic experiences? The Festival of Receiving the Torah! Within a few weeks after liberation, religion, which had seemed to do so little for us, was now challenging us and our loyalties.

But as you cannot measure the physical strength of an oppressed people, so you cannot gauge its spiritual wealth and power.

On that evening, Buchenwald staged a fantastic demonstration of faith and loyalty to God. Thousands upon thousands of liberated Jews crowded into the specially vacated block for the first postwar religious service to be held on the soil of defeated Germany. The Mussulmanner, the cripples, the injured, and the weak came to demonstrate to the world that the last ounce of their strength, the last drop of their blood, and the last breath of their lives belonged to God, to Torah, and to the Jewish religion.

As Chaplain Herschel Schacter intoned the evening prayers, all the inmates in and outside the block stood in silence, reaccepting the Torah whose people, message, and purpose Hitler’s Germany had attempted to destroy. Jewish history repeated itself. Just as our forefathers who were liberated from Egypt accepted the Law in the desert, so did we, the liberated Jews of Buchenwald, reaccept the same Law in the concentration camps of Germany.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Judaism, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Free Shavuot Resource

  1. The same thing happened at Dachua, which my grandfather helped liberate. Beautiful.

  2. joncline says:

    Thanks Derek! A great addition.

    Also, one of these first services was recorded by the BBC in Bergen-Belsen. You can download it here in mp3 format if you like:
    http://tinyurl.com/qh3886

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