Shavuot didn’t have the newness of the fall holidays; it lacked the gift giving and competition with Christmas of Hanukkah; and it’s missing the nostalgia of family gatherings that Passover brings.
However, Shavuot is one of the great pilgrimage holidays that along with Sukkot and Passover that drew ancient Jews to Jerusalem for sacrifices. The holiday also marked, for an agricultural people, the summer harvest and presaged the bounty that was to come in the fall.
We have reclaimed Shavuot, often holding religious school graduations or confirmations on this holiday. We gather together as the newly free Israelites might have, listen to the Ten Commandments in awe, and study together through the night-or half the night- as the rabbis of old did.
And we eat- cheesecake, blintzes, and all manner of dairy food.
In the spirit of Shavuot,here are ten online resources to enhance your celebration or rediscovery of Shavuot.
1) Gellman, Marc, Why God Chose Mount Sinai. Midrash on why the Torah was given from Mount Sinai.
2) Why God Chose Mount Sinai Kids’ video version
4) There are many tikkuns being held locally, in the U.S. and throughout the world. If the Montclair community tikkun isn’t enough for you , drop in on one or several of these through the magic of the internet.
5) Tikkun links courtesy of The Forward.
6) Shavuot books available at the Montclair Public Library through Hoopla, one of the platforms to access books digitally: Cheesecake for Shavuot, Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot; Kopecks for Blintzes; Sadie and the Big Mountain.
7) What’s a holiday without food? Here’s a simple basic recipe for Cottage Cheese and Noodles.You can make is sweet or savory depending on your taste. It’s basically the dairy cousin of the deconstructed stuffed cabbage featured in a recent column.
Noodles and cottage cheese
1 (16 oz.) package pasta (penne, bow ties, egg noodles, etc.)
1 (16 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese
3-4 Tbsp sour cream (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Once cooked, drain the pasta well and add it back to the hot pot.
Add the cottage cheese to the pasta and stir until all of the noodles are well coated.
Add sour cream, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
Serve hot, and if desired garnish the dish with fried onions, parmesan cheese, and/or chopped parsley.
NOTES: For a sweeter dish, eliminate the savory toppings and add about 3 T of sugar or to taste. Mix in some cinnamon, too.
8) The awesome Great Jewish Food Festival just concluded. There were 10 days of lectures, demonstrations, and participatory programming revolving around Jewish food. More than 16,000 people from around the world participated in this gathering of foodies, food scientists, food journalists, and chefs. This was the best of the best. Most sessions were recoded and are available at jewishfoodfest.org/archives
Watch Shavuot in the Sephardic kitchen and watch a chef from France prepare hallah for the holiday.
9) Check out the most beautiful hallah I’ve even seen at Food and Wine
10) Lastly, here’s a link to an article about the Ten Commandments from My Jewish Learning
And my wish for next Shavuot is that our library will be accessible and I’ll to be able to recommend some books along with websites.