Abigail Klein Leichman
May 25, 2017

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot (this year from sunset on May 30 to nightfall on May 31), Keren Kayemet Le’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) opened its photo archive to look back on historic moments captured from First Fruits Festivals in Israel.

This first-fruits basket from 1951 includes a replica of Jewish National Fund charity box. Photo by Warner Brown (KKL/JNF Photo Archive)

Shavuot (“Weeks”) comes seven weeks after Passover and marks religious and agricultural milestones: the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai 3,330 years ago and the end of the annual wheat harvest.

Bringing of the first fruits to the KKL-JNF building in Jerusalem, 1931. Photo by Yosef Schweig (KKL/JNF Photo Archive)
This little girl was photographed at a 1925 First Fruits Festival in what was then Palestine. Photo by Yosef Schweig (KKL/JNF Photo Archive)

On Shavuot in ancient Israel, farmers would bring an offering of newly harvested grain (“first fruits”) to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in decorated baskets.

After the destruction of the second Holy Temple around 70 CE, the agricultural aspect of the holiday became dormant until early kibbutzniks revived it as a First Fruits Festival to celebrate the return of agriculture to Israel after nearly 2,000 years.

And here is a photo of a First Fruits Festival from May 2013 in Jerusalem.

Israeli kids celebrate Shavuot during the opening of The First Station in Jerusalem on May 14, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

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