Bags of oranges, boxes of potatoes, butternuts and towers of tinned fruits piled high at Theodor Herzl School this week when the children offered the healthy food to Khaya Cheshire and the Jewish Benevolent Society as part of their annual Shavuot festival celebration.
Shavuot is an ancient Jewish festival, which marks both the harvesting of wheat and ripening of the first fruits in Israel, but also significantly commemorates the day on which God revealed the Torah, including the Ten Commandments, to the Israelite nation at Mount Sinai.
“There is a festive air at home during Shavuot. It is one of our oldest and most beautiful celebrations and it is most fitting that we all share this bountiful harvest time with those who are less fortunate than ourselves,” said Theodor Herzl teacher Sheila Liss.
Khaya Cheshire is a daycare centre for young people with disabilities. Hilary Bolton, co-coordinator Cheshire Homes EP, said the facility was not subsidized and relied solely on the goodwill of the local community to survive.
“Kindness and charity are emphasized in the Torah. The children of Theodor Herzl School have given very generously and this magnificent fresh food will be a treat for the poor people we help,” said Isaac Rubin of the Jewish Benevolent Society.
Liss explained that Shavuot concludes the better known festival of Pesach.
“On Pesach the Jews were freed from slavery and on Shavuot the freed slaves received the Ten Commandments. The ancient harvest holiday began on the second day of Pesach, with the ripening of barley and weeks later the wheat. The first fruits began to ripen on the trees and vines in Israel at this time too, and every farmer offered his first fruits to the Lord in gratitude.”