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Shavuot Marks Covenant Between God and the Jewish People


Shavuot, the Jewish festival commemorating the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, will be celebrated by many Orange County congregations in coming weeks.

Also known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot completes seven weeks from the second day of Passover and celebrates the harvest of the first fruits in ancient times. The holiday, which falls this year on May 21, also is known as Pentecost, from a Greek word for "fifty."

At a celebration Monday at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma'alot of Irvine, Rabbi Bernie King will discuss the holiday's modern emphasis of reaffirming the covenant at Mt. Sinai between God and the Jewish people and the giving of the Ten Commandments.

Educator Barry Koff will lead a session in which parents and children create their own commandments for their family and home. Students will be invited to lead prayers during the service.

The service begins at 7 p.m. Congregation Shir Ha-Ma'alot is a Reform Jewish synagogue at 3652 Michelson Drive at Harvard Avenue in Irvine. For more information, call (949) 857-7226.

Temple Isaiah of Newport Beach, a Conservative congregation, will hold Shavuot services on the holiday itself, May 21 at 8 p.m. at 2401 Irvine Ave.

Rabbi David Rosenberg will officiate. Information: (949) 548-6900.

Laguna Niguel Catholics Will Dedicate Their New Church St. Timothy's Catholic community will dedicate its permanent church at 29101 Crown Valley Parkway today. The ceremony marks the end of more than 25 years of effort to build a permanent home for the Laguna Niguel parishioners.

The site was first acquired in 1964 by the Diocese of Los Angeles, which turned it over to the Diocese of Orange, formed in 1976. St. Timothy's Parish was established in July 1980 by then-bishop William R. Johnson. Parishioners celebrated Sunday Masses in a multipurpose building, which eventually became too crowded, and in 1991 Bishop Norman McFarland began a major drive to build a permanent church.

The community spent about $800,000 for a crib wall, which created more space by cutting into a hill at the rear of the church property, and $1.2 million for a two-level parking garage. Construction of the church was completed early last year. The first Mass was celebrated on Palm Sunday of 1998. McFarland will officiate at the dedication today; he'll be assisted by Pastor Bruce Lavery and associate pastor Fred Bailey. The event begins at 2 p.m. and will be followed by a courtyard reception. Information: (949) 249-4091.

Entertainer Art Linkletter and Pianist Roger Williams to Perform

Entertainers who present positive family values will be honored today at the Crystal Cathedral, 12131 Lewis St., Garden Grove.

The event, to benefit the Arvella Schuller Scholarship fund, will feature longtime entertainer Art Linkletter, known for his role on the television program "Kids Say the Darndest Things" and other shows. Christian-contemporary soloist Twila Paris and pianist Roger Williams will perform.

The event was established by Arvella Schuller, wife of the Crystal Cathedral founder, the Rev. Robert Schuller, to raise support for talented and deserving children of the Crystal Cathedral Academy to receive additional arts instruction. Children from the academy will perform.

Tickets to the 7 p.m. event will be sold in advance or at the door for $35. Information: (714) 544-5679.

Many Knotts to Be Honored for Their Work by Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Orange County will host the Spirit Awards on May 14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine. The annual civic dinner and awards presentation honors some of the county's "most compassionate" and community-oriented organizations and individuals.

The Knott family, of Knott's Berry Farm, will be awarded the top honor, the "Spirit of the Army" award. Steve Knott, retired executive president of Knott's Berry Farm, was involved with the Salvation Army for more than 20 years.

Other Knotts who have contributed include Steve Knott's wife, Francis, as well as Russell and Milly Knott, Marion Knott-Montapert, Virginia and Paul Knott Bender and Toni Oliphant, daughter of Walter and Cornelius Knott.

"Their contributions over the years have been remarkable, and that matches the spirit" of the Salvation Army, said Warren Johnson, assistant Orange County coordinator of the organization.

The ceremony will feature Commissioner James Osborne, the Salvation Army's former National Commander, as speaker and a Salvation Army brass band, choir and timbrels. It begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $75 a person or $750 a table. To purchase tickets or for information, call Johnson at (714) 832-7100.

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