Dear Friend,

I remember the first time I stayed up all night on Shavuot, the anniversary of the revelation at Sinai. Facing the hazy orange glow generated by Chicago’s quarter-million streetlights, we walked to the synagogue where we would sit with the others, studying Torah, making up for our ancestors’ sleeping in on that fateful morning at the mountain. Once there, I nibbled cake and listened to the learning. Eventually I nodded off. A few years (and more than a few coffees) later, I managed to keep awake the whole night.

Since then, I have experienced Shavuot night in Budapest (followed by an immersion in the mikvah/bathhouse constructed in the community’s prewar heyday), Safed (followed by a dip in the ice-cold spring-fed Arizal Mikvah), Jerusalem (followed by early morning prayers at the Kotel), and now in Montreal (followed all too soon by kids climbing into my bed).

No matter the surroundings, the experience remains the same: spending the night preparing to receive the Torah while the world sleeps. It’s something not to be missed.

Menachem Posner,
on behalf of the Editorial Team

P.S.: Make sure you’re not too tired to make it back the next morning. The highlight of the holiday is coming—kids in tow—to hear the 10 Commandments read from the Torah at the synagogue. Chances are there’ll be some good cheese blintzes as well.