May 18 , 2020/Category

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot was originally an agricultural festival to mark the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. Israelites went on a pilgrimage bringing crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Although it began as this harvest festival bringing the first fruits to the Temple as a gift to God, Shavuot is the time we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

After the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites went to Mount Sinai where Moses ascended the mountain to meet God and received the Ten Commandments. Shavuot means “weeks”, which refers to the 49 days—seven weeks—it took for them to travel from Egypt to the foot of Mount Sinai. “And you shall proclaim that day (the 50th day) to be a holy convocation!” (Leviticus 23:21).

Shavuot Family Yizkor Service
May 29 @ 8:30 am – 9:30 am
Shavuot Family Yizkor Service
The service will include memorial liturgy and will be centered around congregant reflections. We will hear from members of our community as they share memories of those they have lost and how the stories of their loved ones continually shape the stories of their lives today. Join us as congregants Danny KarpfLisa Timmel, and Gia Machlin share memories of love and of loss. Stream live on our website or on Facebook Live.

Remembering Those You Have Lost

CRS Remembers is an offering of space to gather and weave memory and blessing, grief and relationship. We invite you to give the name of your loved one, a photo that expresses their essence, and 6 words that capture their soul. Submit a memory of your loved one by WED, MAY 27.

Mazel Tov to our Confirmands!

Mazel tov to the Rodeph Sholom Confirmation Class! Today is the celebration of Torah. It is the custom at Shavuot for teenagers to participate in the ceremony of Confirmation, introduced by Reform Judaism in the early part of the 19th century. They “confirm” their commitment to Judaism, to Jewish life, and to Congregation Rodeph Sholom. Join us as we celebrate our Confirmands during Kiddush.

A Confirmation Class from the 1970’s—see anyone you know?

Social Justice

It has been said that the Torah exists to establish justice. Thus, through the study of Torah and other Jewish texts, Shavuot offers the opportunity to recommit ourselves to tikkun olam, the repair of the world. We can incorporate social action themes into our Shavuot celebration in many ways. Check out the Social Action Guide.

The Words of Torah are Sweet as Milk and Honey

On Shavuot, we stay up all night studying and eating dairy foods to remind us that the words of Torah are sweet—like milk and honey. It has become traditional to eat milk and cheese products as part of honoring Shavuot, making this summer salad the perfect accompaniment for a Shavuot dinner. Followed by a slice of cheesecake, of course! A reminder to live a sweet life, a Jewish life, with an emphasis on Torah and education.

Strawberry, Feta and Toasted Pecan Salad for Shavuot



  • 2 oz pecans,
  • 1Tbsp light brown sugar,
  • 8 sliced strawberries,
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese,
  • 1 shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil,
  • 1Tbsp white wine vinegar,
  • 2 Tbsp low-fat plain yogurt,
  • 1 tsp sugar,
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard,
  • salt and pepper

How to Make It

1) In a dry pan stir the pecans in the sugar over a medium heat until the nuts are well coated.

2) Toss all the salad ingredients in a bowl.

3) In another bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients.

4) Dress the salad just before serving.

Cheesecake Recipe for Shavuot



  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs,
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon,
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted


  • 4 (8 oz.) pkgs cream cheese, softened,
  • 1¼ cups sugar,
  • ½ cup sour cream,
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract,
  • 5 large eggs


  • ½ cup sour cream

How to Make It

1) Preheat oven to 475° and place a large pan filled with ½ inch water in oven.

2) Make crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon; add butter. Press crust onto bottom and 2/3 of the way up a 9” springform pan lined with parchment. Wrap a large piece of foil around bottom of pan. Freeze until filling is prepared.

3) Make filling: Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Whisk eggs in a bowl; add to cream cheese mixture and blend.

4) Take crust from freezer and pour in filling. Carefully place cheesecake into preheated water bath. Bake 12 minutes. Lower oven to 350° and bake until top of cheesecake turns golden, 50–60 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

5) Make topping: Combine sour cream and sugar; spread over cake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.