Celebrating Shavuot: Tradition, Dairy Delights, and Family Fun

Shavuot, a significant festival holiday in the Jewish calendar, often gets overlooked amidst the more widely recognized celebrations like Passover and Chanukah.

Jewish tradition teaches that all Jewish souls that ever existed and will exist in this world were standing under the mount Sinai receiving Torah from Moses. Let’s explore what Shavuot is all about, why dairy plays a starring role in its celebration, and how you can make it memorable with delicious recipes and fun family traditions.

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, commemorates Moses receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. This event, occurring seven weeks after Passover (at the end of the Omer), is considered a cornerstone of Jewish faith, symbolizing the covenant between God and the Israelites, the moment, when a group of people who up to this point were just a huge extended family (all descendants of Jacob) became a nation with its own language, laws and governing structure. Shavuot is a time to celebrate the giving of the Torah, engage in study, and reflect on its teachings… an excellent opportunity for the community to connect with each other.

Dairy – Why?

One of the most distinctive aspects of Shavuot is the tradition of consuming dairy products. Several explanations exist for this custom, here are a couple:

  • One popular interpretation is that upon receiving the Torah, including its dietary laws, the Israelites could not prepare kosher meat with the utensils they had, leading them to eat dairy instead.
  • Another explanation is the association of the Torah with the “land flowing with milk and honey,” signifying abundance and prosperity.
  • As a mom, I like this one most of all: Like a mother’s milk is a source of love and safety, Torah is the source of life, structure and the greatest joy of learning!

Favorite Dairy Recipes

To honor this tradition, many families prepare and enjoy an array of dairy dishes. Here are a couple of my family’s favorite recipes that can make your Shavuot celebration delicious:

My Favorite Cheesecakehttps://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-cheesecake-recipe-1914053

My daughter brought this idea home from summer camp, try it out!:

Rhubarb and Fennel Ice Cream

2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 fennel top, (the green!) finely chopped
2 cups half and half
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks


In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, fennel, and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until soft, then puree in food processor or blender and set aside.

In another saucepan, heat cream and milk until simmering.

Whisk egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale. Slowly pour in the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened.

Stir in the rhubarb-fennel puree and let cool. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Family Tradition of Trying New Ice Cream

Our family has a tradition of exploring new ice cream shops each Shavuot. It adds an element of fun and anticipation to the holiday, making it a favorite for both kids and adults. Here are some memorable spots we’ve visited over the years:

Casa Rosada: Argentinian ice cream, known for its artisanal flavors and fresh ingredients.
The Yard: Famous for its extravagant milkshakes.
Battlefield Country Store: Crazy milkshakes in a fun country store.
Jeni’s: Renowned for its unique and gourmet flavor combinations, we like the sample plate.
Ice Cream Jubilee: A local favorite with creative and seasonal options.
Peterson’s: A classic spot offering a nostalgic ice cream experience, order at the window and pretend you are at the beach.
Moo Thru: Celebrated for its farm-fresh ice cream made from local dairy, we love the dark chocolate, available at their Remington location.

Do you have recipe or ice cream suggestions to share? We are ready for our new ice cream spot! Email Amy.Lummer@theJ.org.

This Shavuot, embrace the holiday’s traditions, indulge in delightful dairy treats, and create lasting memories with your family. Whether you’re making a classic cheesecake, experimenting with homemade ice cream, or visiting a new ice cream shop, let the spirit of Shavuot fill your home with joy and sweetness.

Chag Shavuot Sameach!

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