The Meaning of Dairy on Shavous


Talia Goldstein

Shavous. The holiday filled with cheesecake, pasta, fish and bagels. Everyone loves to indulge in dairy on this important holiday. But why? What’s the real reason we eat dairy on Shavous? As we all know, we celebrate Shvous in honor of receiving the Torah on Har Sinai. What does this have to do with eating dairy? The Torah was given on Shabbos, the day of rest. Because it was Shabbos, the Jews withheld themselves from slaughtering cows and kashering utensils. Therefore, the only real option of food left to eat was dairy. 

As Jews, many years later, we feel strongly towards keeping the tradition of eating dairy on Shavous. While it’s not mandatory, many families like to make it a special time by cooking and baking dishes they wouldn’t necessarily eat all year round. In my family, cheesecake on Shavous is a tradition we are not looking to break any time soon. Every year, my father bakes a delicious cheesecake while my mother makes penne ala vodka and prepares a variety of bagels and toppings for the morning after staying up all night. As Jews, we pride ourselves on keeping our traditions alive and continuing them into the future. 


Cheesecake Recipe 

Graham cracker crust:
18 double graham crackers
⅔ cup margarine softened
⅓ cup sugar

Crush the graham crackers either with a food processor or by hand until they are finely ground. Place the crumbs in a large bowl and combine them will the margarine and sugar. Press your crumbs down firmly to the sides and bottom of your 9×13-inch pan. 


1 pound cream cheese
4 Tbsp. Brown sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
2½ Tbsp. Cornstarch
1¼ cups sour cream
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. Vanilla extract



Use: 9×13-inch pan 
Yields: 20 servings



Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees. Beat the cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Add your eggs and beat them until all 3 are blended. Combine your sugar, salt, and cornstarch with your cheese mixture. Finally, add your sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Bled all the ingredients well. pour your filling into the graham cracker crust. Bake for an hour at 350. After an hour of baking, turn the oven off and allow the cake to coll there for about an hour. Serve chilled.