The festivities of Shavuot began Tuesday evening, with the kibbutzim and agricultural settlements throughout Israel displaying their first harvest.
By Ahiya Raved
The celebrations of the holiday of Shavuot began Tuesday evening. Among the main celebrations are many kibbutzim and moshavim, as Shavuot marks the harvest of the first fruits of the land and the receiving of the Torah.
A large Shavuot ceremony was held Tuesday evening at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, which was celebrating its 95th anniversary. The ceremony brought the first harvests of the kibbutz’s different branches and ended with a mass dance comprised of hundreds of participants, from 13 year-olds to the kibbutz’s veterans.
In the Jezreel Valley, where Jewish settlers first settled and worked the land, the main celebrations are to take place on Wednesday at 17:00, in the fields of Nahalal. The event is free, and will include the presenting of the moshav’s various produce, along with a demonstration of agricultural activities such as plowing, sowing and harvesting, and a procession of tractors and horses.
A new aspect of the holiday is the organized donation of surplus agricultural produce that will be offered free of charge by kibbutzim and moshavim to those in need. The NGO Leket Israel reported that this year moshavim and kibbutzim contributed about 15,000 tons of surplus produce. As such, Nahalal’s ceremony will also include a tractor-drawn cart with samples of the produce donated this year, including broccoli, citrus, cauliflower, onion, radish and beet.
Towns and cities are also celebrating the holiday, with the northern city of Nesher offering a colorful festival for the last four years. The festival, organized by the Nesher Municipality and community center, includes a ceremony for presenting first fruits by schoolchildren, introducing babies who were born this year, a farmers’ market, a drummers’ circles and more.
The city of Haifa marked Shavuot in a different manner on Tuesday, focusing instead on its more modern aspect as “the holiday of water.” In the city’s Gan Shmuel, located on the Carmel, dozens of people took part in a “water fight” held in memory of Asaf Tzur (Blondi), a 17-year-old boy who was killed in a terrorist attack in the city.
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