Archive for the ‘Shavuot’ Category

Shavuot Menu

I know, I’m late. I blame the two kids who had ear infections and my own double ear infection and strep (can you say OUCH!?). But just for posterity, here is our menu from Shavuot:

Night 1 (Dairy) Note this starts so late that we didn’t have too much–it was 9:45 before my dear husband even got home!

Sour cherry soup



Lunch 1 (Dairy)

Challah and salads (the usual for us: roasted eggplant, pepper, hummus, and zhug)

Pasta and sauces (garlic peanut sauce, tomato sauce, alfredo sauce)

“Salad” sliced and prepared by older kids (cucumbers, carrots, apples, bananas, and blueberries arranged nicely on a plate)

ice cream and dairy candy

Night 2 (Meat)

Challah and salads

Sesame beef and rice


Lunch 2 (Dairy): Mexican!


7 layer dip and chips (“refried” beans, rice, crushed nacho chips, cheese, taco sauce, and guacamole. I guess you could add sour cream if you like it and actually need 7 layers to your 7-layer dip.)

Ice cream


Two weeks until Shavuot!

It’s getting here more quickly than you think. Here are some things to consider now:

  • Do you want guests? (Invite them, make travel plans, etc.)
  • What traditions do you have, and do you need to prepare ahead for any of them?
  • Do you want to serve anything special that needs advance preparation?
  • Do you have anything to order in the mail for Shavuot?
  • New jewelry/clothing for adults, toys/treats for kids?
  • Start thinking menu thoughts

Prepping the Shavout wardrobe/gifts

On Yom Tov, we rejoice! What does that mean? It has been clarified that we eat better meals with more choices, we rest from “work,” and there are gifts. A husband should get a new piece of clothing or jewelry for his wife, and we get something special for children: food treats, a new toy, new clothing, etc.

For Pesach, we get matching PJs for each child as well as a new outfit for Shabbat or Yom Tov. Because Pesach wasn’t that long ago, we usually don’t need either, and we use the opportunity for dairy treats, family candy making l’kavod yom tov, and/or a new toy they have been wanting.

You can choose to get whatever works for your family, but if you’re going to order it online, now is the time! You want to be sure it gets there in time. Now off to my own shopping…

Shavuot foods

There are many traditional foods associated with the holiday of Shavuot (AKA Shavuos) . As we are starting to consider Shavuot menus…

-Dairy: Shavuot is associated with dairy for lots and lots of reasons, but blintzes and cheesecake are always welcome here! Those are the two most recognizable, but bagels and spreads, pasta dishes like lasagna, pesto sauce, cheesecake, and milk chocolate are often served.

-Fruit: Shavuot is also the feast of the first fruits. A common way to serve fruit is a sour cherry soup (or other fruit soup) or fresh fruit for dessert (although who wants fruit when you could have cheesecake!)

-Special breads and cakes: Challah can be baked longer to resemble the luchot or have a seven stepped ladder on it for Moshe’s trip up to heaven from Mt Sinai. Some even have a custom to make dairy bread, normally something that we don’t do unless it is easily differentiated from non-dairy bread. Cottage cheese levivot (pancakes) are popular, as are blintzes (crepes filled with cheese). A seven layer cake made by Morrocan Jews is also traditional.

Others: Rice (traditional at weddings) is served to remember the “marriage” of God and the Jews, and there is a turkish rice pudding made with milk and honey (remembering the promised land of Israel) and rose water. Plus I know a family that has a second day lunch “tradition” of pizza. Not exactly from Mt. Sinai, but yum!

Now, for those who “have” to eat meat, I haven’t heard of any official traditions, but several communities we have been in have a BBQ. I think it’s more that it is nicer weather than official Jewish reasons, but it seems right after years of seeing it, too!

Shavuot and summer are coming!

As we count the Omer every night, we get closer and closer to the 7 weeks from Pesach to Shavuot–and Shavuot is when we get the Torah! Every Jewish soul was present at Mt Sinai for the giving of the Torah, and it is a celebration! This is one of the major Jewish festivals. In 2011, it starts the night of June 7 and continues through June 8 and 9 (outside Israel).

But with the spiritual preparation comes the physical: menu planning, cleaning the house, new clothes, etc. What is unique for Shavuot? That depends on tradition.

We usually do dairy meals, but because the enjoyment of a yom tov needs meat–for my husband and he assures me, men around the world, we do something meaty for him and anyone else who wants (after washing out the mouth and changing tableware.) Eating meat on yom tov is a Sephardic position, but there are plenty of others who do it, or just skip the dairy altogether! The dairy meals tradition came because Jews didn’t know how to slaughter animals in a kosher way yet, or because we were “reborn” into a Torah way of life so eat “baby food,” or because we were promised a land flowing with milk and honey…There are a lot of potential reasons given. I actually greatly prefer dairy meals, so it’s my favorite holiday for meals!

We also make a point of decorating with greenery and plants. Midrash tells us that Mt. Sinai flowered and bloomed in anticipation of receiving the Torah, and so we get to have a beautiful house with flowers and green plants!

The night of Shavuot, we stay up all night learning Torah.

Now; how to prep for this holiday? Stay tuned for more specifics. This is just to get you and me thinking about what is to come.

And summer is coming, too. Time (or in some cases, past time!) to think about summer camps, classes, activities, vacations, guests, lessons, etc. I’m drawing up my list of goals and will share it with you soon.