Shavu'ot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The Torah is the governing covenant between God and Israel, the constitution of the Jewish polity, and the event at Mount Sinai marks the adoption of a religious regimen that would henceforth define the borders of individual and group behavior: that to which the Israelites were formerly entitled is no longer permitted.
In the spirit of that curtailment, we forgo the pleasures of a meat meal, our menu becoming a symbol for the meaning of the day.
Take our Shavu'ot poll and tell us how you plan on celebrating the holidays.
This detailed instruction guide, created by Rabbi Marc Wolf, vice chancellor and chief development officer of JTS, explores the Biblical passages and practices that teach us how to properly observe Shavu'ot. Questions and exercises are also included to help frame the discussion and clarify the understanding of this important holiday.
8 whole graham crackers, crushed
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder or coffee powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate curls (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix crackers, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl; press onto bottom (not sides) of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust ten minutes. Cool. Maintain oven temperature.
Combine cream, espresso powder, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, then eggs one at a time. Beat in flour. Stir espresso mixture until powder dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter over crust. Bake cake until edges are puffed and beginning to crack and center is just set, about 1 hour 5 minutes.
Cool on rack 30 minutes; chill cake uncovered until cold, about six hours. Cover; keep chilled at least one day and up to two days. Cut around cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Top with curls, if desired.
— Recipe from Bon Appétit, September 2000