Shavuot at Sunset- A Hebrew Tradition

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence 

Shavuot is the last of three pilgrimage celebrations on the Jewish calendar.

Throughout the biblical temple times Jews traveled to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices during Rosh Hashanah (New Year), Passover and Shavuot.

The latter commemorates the giving of the Torah, Jewish Law, at Mount Sinai. That event defines the Jewish generations to come, providing the common basis for all future Jewish practice.

In ancient agricultural Jewish society, the holiday was also an occasion for farmers to offer the first fruit of their labors at the temple.

In Israel, the holiday is currently celebrated with parades of flowers and produce in kibbutzim and throughout the country.

The bounty of the land of milk and honey is celebrated with kids wearing flowery wreaths on their heads and participating in school ceremonies.

There is a tradition rooted in the Torah, where for the first time special instructions were outlined for how to slaughter and prepare meat for eating. 

Until then, the Jews had not followed these laws, thus all their meat – plus the cooking pots – were now considered "not kosher." So the only alternative was to eat dairy, which requires no advance preparation.

Throughout the Jewish world, many observe a tradition of eating dairy meals featuring blintzes, cheesecakes and pastas.