On the Shavuot holiday, Dawn Lerman's dad looked forward to "little packages of love"—aka cheese blintzes. Lerman had made them from scratch several times with her maternal grandmother Beauty before the family moved from Chicago to New York City, but never by herself. When she called her grandmother for guidance, Beauty advised, “The trick to not being overwhelmed making the blintzes is to do it in two parts. In the evening, make the crepes for the shell and fill them so they would have time to set overnight and be ready for frying in the morning.” Lerman, a New York Times wellness blogger and a nutritionist, offers a gluten-free twist on Beauty's cheese blintzes for Shavout—ensuring that the "little packages of love" can be enjoyed without the guilt.
Unlike the other two Jewish pilgrimage festivals—Passover, which is marked through the retelling of the Exodus story at the seder, and Sukkot, which is celebrated by building a hut or sukkah outside one’s home—there is no definitive ritual associated with Shavuot in the text of the Torah. As such, many Jews struggle to connect with the holiday. At the same time, Shavuot fetes the time when the Jewish people received the Ten Commandments. JNS.org presents seven ways to infuse meaning and minhag (tradition) into Shavuot.
The megillah (scroll) of Ruth, read annually on the second day of the Shavuot holiday, is nothing new to synagogue-goers. But a new commentary on Ruth brings some good news: that traditional Jews have joined the academic approach to studying the bible, writes book reviewer Rabbi Jack Riemer.
This year, Passover and Easter were celebrated at the same chronological moment by English-speaking Jews and Christians, respectively. The fact that these two holidays sport utterly different names in English bars any conceptual confusion. But early in June, the Jewish and Christian liturgical cycles will almost collide again when both groups observe a holiday called Pentecost. That these two things share a word in our language naturally leads us to ask: Are they the same or different?
Owners Anat and Daniel Kornmehl of Kornmehl Goat Cheese Farm & Restaurant are considered by many chefs to be the finest makers of goat cheese in Israel. People flock from across the Negev, as well as other parts of Israel, to taste the farm’s camembert, Tommes de Pyrenees, Edna, and their hard Alpine-like cheese called Adi, named after one of their goats. Come Shavuot, when families focus on dairy at their festive meals, the establishment becomes even more popular.
Cheesecake expands the joy of the Shavuot holiday. Small cheesecake bars, topped with early strawberries, are a wonderful way to usher in the transition-to-summer month of June. A Thai tea cheesecake is beautiful and surprising, rounding out your holiday with a sense of orange expansiveness—and it is actually easier than handcrafting blintzes, writes Mollie Katzen, one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time.
Each year, Jews in Israel and around the world celebrate the receiving of the Torah with an intense immersion in all-night learning to open the Shavuot holiday. For Tanya Gusovsky, her first Shavuot in Israel two years ago served as a potent reminder of why she had left the U.S. and made the Jewish state her home. “There I was, just days into my life here, and to be treated with this amazing feast of learning... It was such a feeling to be one of the people who felt strongly about where they belong, and thankful for that sense of unity and utter trust in our mission here,” she says.