Happy Shavuot!

On Shavuot, both super-secular and super-religious Israelis stay up all night to celebrate the giving of the torah on Mount Sinai-- see this great post from Isreality: The White Holiday. Well, actually I'm not sure the Tel Avivians running around in white clothing all night are really thinking about the Torah... but then I doubt that all Americans on Easter Egg hunts are thinking about death on the cross. I honestly didn't realize Shavuot existed until college, but here-- like every other Jewish holiday-- Shavuot is celebrated on TV, in the crowded lines of people buying cheeses in the grocery store, in the homes of everyone I know.

We're staying home and eating a dairy meal: Spanikopita and Salmon, as well as cheese cake for desert. This may not sound particularly Israeli (and probably isn't), but I did decide to do something Israeli for my cheesecake: I followed an Israeli recipe.

Let me explain: you can get most of the same ingredients that we use for American cheesecake here, just as you can get coffee grounds. But this takes effort. American-style cream cheese, for example, is harder to find-- and it is named after places in the US, like "Philadelphia" and "Alaska." (On Shavuot, of course, the dairy and cream cheese section of our supermarket doubles in size, and I could have found "Philadelphia.") The more common Israeli cream cheese, on the other hand, which I used in my Israeli recipe this year, is a little more watery. Some Israeli cheesecake recipes even use labaneh (which is something between a cheese and a yogurt) in place of cream cheese altogether. I have not seen American graham crackers anywhere in Israel; instead, we have "petit-beurre" (or "peti-bar") cookies.

I decided to opt out of the more adventurous recipes in my Israeli pastry cookbook-- cheesecake with dates in the filling, for example. Maybe next year.

Like anything else, making cheesecake after aliyah takes an adjustment-- but the result (sitting in my fridge right now) looks delicious. Happy Shavuot!


  1. Enjoy your cheesecake. Chag Shavuot sameach!

  2. Your cheesecake looks *delicious*!!!! I still have yet to make a cheesecake... but I did get a *fabulous* piece at the JCC 'almost all night' (10pm to 1am) community-wide study time, which was wonderful (both the cheesecake AND the study times :-) ). Rabbi M. from PZ sends his best wishes to you both!

    Ima in America


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