How New York is celebrating Shavuot 2023


(New York Jewish Week) — Bring on the blintzes and cheesecake!

Heading into Memorial Day Weekend this year, Jewish New Yorkers have even more reasons to celebrate: Thursday night is the beginning of the major Jewish holiday of Shavuot. The annual festival marks the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai and signifies the conclusion of counting the omer, a 49-day period that begins on the second night of Passover and “reminds us of this process of moving from a slave mentality to a more liberated one,” according to My Jewish Learning. 

Shavuot traditions include staying up all night to learn Torah and to explore other Jewish texts and ideas, as well as eating dairy meals and desserts (like cheesecake, of course). 

From comedy shows to dairy dinners to learning centers to park picnics, here are nine ways New Yorkers are celebrating Shavuot in the city this year.

May 24

A Shavuot comedy show with Hey Alma 

Our partner site Hey Alma presents “Get Cheesy, Bitch! A Shavuot Comedy Show” featuring Jewy stand-up comedy by a line-up that includes Alison Leiby, Josh Gondelman, Max Gross and Freddie Shanel. Hey Alma’s Evelyn Frick will host. Get tickets for the show, which starts at 9:30 p.m. at Caveat NYC (21A Clinton St.) here. Starting at $15. Livestream is available for $10.

May 25

Shavuot dinner at The Brownstone

Join Jewish events hub The Brownstone (224 East 12th St.) for a Shavuot cocktail hour and dairy dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Described as “a place to experience New York City from a Jewish perspective and meet like-minded Jewish millennials,” The Brownstone directs its programming towards “young professionals” and welcomes Jews of all denominations. Tickets start at $60. RSVP here.

Discover the Book of Ruth with My Jewish Learning

Rabbi Moshe Steigmann and our partner site, My Jewish Learning, come together to host a virtual learning event exploring how the story of Ruth — who is considered the first convert to Judaism, and whose story is traditionally read on Shavuot — can teach us about self-doubt and belonging in Judaism. Beginning at 8 p.m., the event is free and online. Register for the Zoom link here.

Explore technology and the Torah with Manhattan Jewish Experience

Manhattan Jewish Experience (131 W 86th St.) will explore artificial intelligence, big data, algorithms and social media during their night of learning, which begins at 8:30 p.m. and lasts until the wee hours of Friday morning. With a dairy dinner included, tickets are $50; for those coming post-dinner, tickets are free and include dessert and drinks and, following a sunrise service, a breakfast buffet with mimosas. Register here. Find other local Chabad offerings through their portal.

Celebrate Shavuot across Brooklyn

Congregations from all over Brooklyn will band together to host their annual “Shavuot Across Brooklyn,” a night of learning that will take place at Congregation Beth Elohim (274 Garfield Place). The evening begins at 9:15 p.m. with traditional egalitarian, Orthodox or “creative ritualistic” services, and continues throughout the night with dozens of classes, discussions and hands-on projects and learning. Check out the offerings here

Study all night on the Upper West Side 

Join the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave.) for their annual night of studying and celebration, which includes explorations of Jewish film, music, literature, culture and beyond. The in-person event begins the evening of May 25 at 10 p.m. Highlights include “Leopoldstadt” and “West Wing” actor Joshua Malina and Aaron Neil in conversation; Rabbi Joanna Samuels in conversation with actress Tovah Feldshuh; a book talk with Taffy Brodesser-Akner (“Fleishman Is in Trouble”) and a class, “Jewish Jokes About Arguing with God,” led by the New York Jewish Week’s very own editor at large, Andrew Silow-Carroll. Free; no registration required. Check out the full schedule here

May 26

Drinks and learning with Chabad TechTribe

Join TechTribe, a Chabad organization for young professionals (20s to 40s) who work in the technology sector, for “A Day of Revelation and Rosé.” The evening includes a short service, an al fresco feast and learning on Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. Located at TechTribe HQ in Brooklyn; address is provided upon registration. Free with RSVP

May 27

Shake your groove thing with J-Vibe

On Saturday night starting at 10:00 p.m., Jewish nightlife events group J-Vibe will host their annual party celebrating both Shavuot and Memorial Day Weekend. The theme is “Layla Lavan,” or “White Night” in Hebrew, so wear your best white outfits to celebrate the official unofficial start of summer with DJs spinning Top 40, Israeli music and more. Tickets start at $18, location TBD. More information here.

May 28

Shavuot picnic in Central Park

At 2 p.m. on the Sunday post-Shavuot, hang in Central Park, meet other millennial Jews and snack on (more) cheese with Miranda Lapides, writer of The Shabbat Drop newsletter and Brent Delman, a kosher cheesemonger. Bring your own snacks and drinks to pair with the cheese. The event is free but registration is required. The exact location will be emailed prior to the event.