Crunchy, creamy, gooey goat cheese and zucchini blintzes.
Special To The Jewish Week
The best thing I ever ate was a crepe off of a food truck in Paris. Perhaps it was because I consumed it at the fourth meal hour of 3:00 a.m., but I still dream of the soft yet slightly crunchy crepe oozing lots of gooey cheeses and fresh spinach. Once I started cooking Jewish cuisine for a living, I realized my beloved crepe was really just the French equivalent of Bubbe’s classic cheese blintzes.
Celebrate Shavuot with mini snickerdoodle cheesecakes topped with peach bourbon compote.
Special To The Jewish Week
Shavuot is upon us, and this holiday always reminds me of two things: dairy, and turning thirteen. One reason we eat dairy on Shavuot is in recognition of the Israelites receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. They instantly had to adopt the laws of kashrut, but without the necessary instruments to slaughter and prepare kosher meat, they opted for dairy – though they probably didn’t have the holy experience of tasting snickerdoodle cheesecakes.
Shavuot, to be observed and celebrated this year on Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday, is a unique festival. There is nothing equivalent to the model seders that we share with others beyond our community. There is no explicit call to “those who are hungry,” as at the seder, or to house the homeless, in the spirit of the fragile sukkah. Hardly anyone attempts to equate the spirit of the holiday to political and social causes in the world at large.
Did you know Shavuot was last week?
You knew it if you were on Mount Gerizim, the biblical site on the West Bank near Nablus.
The Samaritans, descendants of Jewish tribes who were exiled from the Promised Land nearly three millennia ago and who observe aspects of the ancient Israelite religion and culture, start counting the seven-week period between Passover and Shavuot on the first Shabbat after Pesach, instead of on the second night of Pesach, the Jewish tradition.
Hence the Samaritan Shavuot always falls on Sunday — June 24 this year.
Like most people, I would imagine, my first thoughts upon learning that the Memorial Day weekend here in America would coincide with the festival of Shavuot this year were not happy ones. Three-day weekends are a precious commodity, even for rabbis. Giving one up for three days of Shabbat and Yom Tov was simply not a fair exchange. I’m sure that I like being in synagogue a little more than the average bear, but really… on Memorial Day weekend?
Some people get ready for Shavuot by making blintzes. Some draft notes on the text to be taught or learned in the wee hours of the morning at one of the all-night sessions during which the giving of the Torah at Sinai is celebrated through study.
And some congregate on Twitter, the micro-blogging website on which posts can be no longer than 140 characters, composing their own tweets of Torah, reading others’ efforts and furiously re-tweeting.
Last Friday after sunset, Jewish worshipers recited the traditional prayer over the counting of the Omer, the seven-week period between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. The count that night was 42. Or it could have been Jackie Robinson, Ronnie Lott or Connie Hawkins, depending on if you were a baseball, football or basketball fan.
Unlike with other Jewish holidays, the Torah does not specify a date for Shavuot; it is celebrated on the 50th day (seven weeks) after Passover. We moderns celebrate Shavuot on the sixth day of the month of Sivan (this year, May 27-28).
Equally strange, the actual date on which the Torah was given is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. We know more or less when it was, but no exact date is given. This is true even though the dates of many other events, all surely of far lesser importance, are written explicitly in the Torah.