The Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins this evening (June 7) at sundown and ends on Thursday approximately one hour after sunset.
Knowing that many Angelenos will be heading out to celebrate the holiday, the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Parking Enforcement and Traffic Control plans to relax certain parking restrictions in specific areas of the city.
Fifth District Councilman Paul Koretz has sent out a letter stating that there will be relaxed "enforcement of street cleaning, time limit and preferential parking restrictions" for the holiday. However, Koretz also stated that meters, tow away zones and other safety violations will be enforced.
The rules will be the same as those applied for the Passover holiday in April.
None of the areas cover Mar Vista. However, if you're planning to attend services, meals or study sessions in the Valley, Hollywood or any other West Los Angeles areas, please see the attached PDF file, listing all the affected streets.
Shavuot has many names including the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot means "weeks" in Hebrew). However, it's celebrated as the time that the Torah (Old Testament) was given to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. It is also when the Jewish people read from the Book of Ruth. Ruth, a Moabite woman, is regarded as the Jewish people's first official convert to Judaism. One of the reasons given for reading the Book of Ruth is because she was willing to take on all the commandmants in the Torah and accept them into her new life.
Shavuot is also one of the three major Jewish pilgrim/harvest festivals, the other two being Passover and Sukkot. Shavuot also celebrates the time when the first fruits were harvested and then brought as an offering to the temple.
As part of the festival, many Jews attend synagogue services and stay up all night on the first night of the holiday until the break of dawn studying Jewish texts.
Part of the tradition also includes eating a dairy meal on Shavuot. There are several explanations for this tradition, including the fact that once the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai, the dietary laws were now in place, forbidding Jews to mix milk and meat, and requiring them to slaughter an animal in the ritually proper way with the right kosher cooking utensils. As a result, they had to eat dairy at that first meal as they simply did not yet have the means to prepare kosher meat.
In addition, because Torah is compared to milk and honey in Song of Songs, it was appropriate to commemorate the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai by indulging in milk and honey.
Patch wishes all its readers who celebrate the holiday a Chag Sameach.