Roundup: Shavuot & Summer Holidays

The weather is getting warmer, and the countdown is on. Shavuot starts Sunday night, followed by other Jewish holidays this summer. Here’s a roundup of my writing about these timely topics, through the lenses of Jewish punk and vegetarianism, over the past fourteen years.

Counting the Omer

It’s traditional to count the forty-nine days leading up to Shavuot. In 2007, I created the Counting the Omer blog, where I provided a different reason to go vegetarian each day. The final post had a connection with Shavuot, quoting Judaism and Vegetarianism author Richard H. Schwartz, who noted that the Harvest Festival “can remind us that many more people can be sustained on vegetarian diets than on animal-centered diets.” Click here to read a recap of all forty-nine reasons.


In 2017, I wrote about a trio of Torah-focused songs by Moshiach Oi! for Jewcy. I explained, “Traditionally for Shavuot, Jews celebrate that G-d gave us the Torah by staying up until sunrise learning Torah. Untraditionally, you can rev yourself up for an all-nighter by listening to ‘Torah hardcore.'”

The following year, I presented about “Vegetarianism in the Jewish Tradition” at the Wandering Jews of Astoria’s Shavuot learning fest. While I’d enjoyed the massive, all-night version at the Manhattan JCC in years past, it was more intimate having a dozen people in a board member’s living room. There was even vegan strawberry-cherry-plum cheesecake and Torah-shaped cookies, both based on Isa Chandra Moskowitz recipes.

Tammuz and Av

Jewish holidays in the summer months of Tammuz and Av sometimes get short shrift. In 2018, I wrote a punk playlist for Gimel Tammuz, the 17th of Tammuz, Tisha B’Av, and Tu B’Av. Considering that there were Jewish punk songs specifically related to the first three, how could I not connect the dots?

The nine days preceding Tu B’Av are called the Nine Days. In 2008, I blogged about an amusing anecdote about how an annual shul tradition with hot dogs went vegetarian instead. During the Nine Days, meat is prohibited except on Shabbat.

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