This weekend has got it all going on: Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, and Shavuot.
Memorial Day was originally observed to commemorate fallen Union soldiers following the Civil War. After World War I it was expanded to honor soldiers from all American wars and in 1971 was declared a national holiday.
Jews have been a part of American military history since the colonial era, when many served in General Washington’s Continental Army. On August 1, 1776, Francis Salvador was the first Jew to be killed in the American Revolution as he led a small army of 330 men.
Songstress Regina Spektor is releasing her new album, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, on May 29. NPR is currently streaming it and if the album’s third track “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” doesn’t make you want to go outside and bounce around, I’m not sure what will.
Shavuot, the holiday in which we celebrate by eating dairy, is sadly still a bit of an underdog when it comes to popularity among American Jews. The theological significance of the holiday is certainly noted by the Chag Sameach greetings I received from my mother in my inbox this morning: a Photoshopped picture of Charlton Heston as Moses in Mel Brooks’ The Ten Commandments clutching a pair of iPads.
Lastly, here is a photo of the cheetah cubs that recently arrived at the National Zoo:
We are so lucky to be in DC, where we’ll be able to hop on the metro for one stop and check them out when they join the others in the cheetah den in a few months!