With spring came Shavuot
(Pentecost), the festival that celebrates the giving of the Torah by Moses
to the Israelites. Best of all, we got two days off from school. On the
meadow where we used to romp around, there was a pond. Around the pond was
a marshy area where we gathered reeds and willow to decorate our homes for
the holiday. The house was scrubbed clean and bedecked with greenery
scattered on the floor, walls, and furniture.
On the windows we put
shevieslekh, beautiful paper cutouts, which we made ourselves. It was
kind of a competition to see who could make the nicest ones. If you could
not make them yourself, you could purchase them at a shop. Father would
save the shevieslekh from year to year between the pages of the
festival prayer book. I remember how to do so many things, but not how to
make shevieslekh. They were a little like cutting paper snowflakes.
It was also customary to eat dairy food on Shavuot, and Mother made
delicious blintzes, cheesecake, and cold soups from fruit.