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Dairy, Torah, and All-nighters: Shavuot Is Here

What to eat, read, and do during the holiday

Jonathan Zalman
May 26, 2017
Cheese blintzes from Carnegie Deli.Facebook
Cheese blintzes from Carnegie Deli.Facebook

Shavuot is upon us. Or maybe you call it Shavous. Both are acceptable; stress whichever consonants/vowels you please. What matters is that you’re here, with us. And if you’re honestly unsure what Shavout is apart from its designation as a Jewish holiday—and you’re not alone here, there’s room in this tent yet!—here’s a handy FAQ for you. And if you’re too lazy to read even that, here are the cliff notes: “[Shavuot’s] the day the Israelites got the Torah. To celebrate, we eat cheese and dairy-related products. And stay up all night to study.” Boom.

Let’s stick with the dairy portion of the program, even though Jews can tend to have a tough relationship with that lactose. Because, come on now: it’s a time to eat cheesecake. And who doesn’t love cheesecake? (Well, one person doesn’t very much.) Rapper Future loves it. Here’s a recipe for a light and fluffy one with nut brittle and blueberries. Just going to write that again for ya: Here’s a recipe for a light and fluffy cheesecake with nut brittle and blueberries. Here are a few more recipes for cheesecakes if the aforementioned isn’t your cup of tea, along with recipes for varying types of blintzes.

Random side-note: Why hasn’t anybody made a parody of the The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” called “Ballroom Blintzes”?

Where were we? Ah yes: dairy. OK, so if dairy doesn’t agree with you, perhaps because it could threaten your life, or perhaps because you can’t locate pints of that elusive charoset ice cream, consider another activity: reading poetry. Here are three fantastic poems about Ruth, a Moabite woman considered to be the first convert to Judaism. Or, ya know, read the actual Book of Ruth, which, according to Tablet’s primer on Shavuot, reads “like the Desperate Housewives of Canaan.”

Chag sameach.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.