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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.