It's A Tradition

The festival of Shavuoth is known as the time of the giving of the Torah. It is also known as the time when the Omer was offered on the altar. However today most people associate Shavuoth with the time for eating cheese cake. The custom is not without its foundations in Jewish tradition. The book Ta'ame MinHagim lists several reasons:

The Midrash says that Mount Sinai has 8 names, one of them being "Givonim," which sounds like the Hebrew word for cheese - "givinah".

After the receiving of the Torah, the Jewish people had to familiarize themselves with the intricate laws of ritual slaughter and therefore the first meal after the giving of the Torah was a dairy one.

Another reason is that milk, which is the color white, alludes to kindness and that G-D's giving the Torah to the Jewish people was a divine act of kindness.

In celebration of this time-honored custom, Jewish Life & Living would like to present a few recipes in honor of the holiday.




To make crust: Mix all ingredients together and press into 9 inch spring form pan.

To make filling: Put yolks into blender; add cheeses slowly and cream together. Then add sugar slowly, flour slowly, lemon juice, vanilla and sour cream until mixed and creamy. Beat egg whites with 1/4 c. additional sugar until it peaks. Fold into mixture.

Pour over crumbs in pan. Bake in 325o preheated oven for 1 hour. Shut off oven, leave in oven an additional hour. Gently open, run knife around edges of pan. Put in refrigerator.

OPTIONAL: Top with fresh fruit or fruit pie filling.



FILLING: TOPPING: Combine ingredients for crust and line bottom and sides with crumbs in an 8 inch square pan. Combine ingredients for filling, beat for 20 to 25 minutes at medium speed. Place mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350o F. for 20 minutes; cool. Beat together ingredients for topping. Carefully place on top of filling and bake at 350o F. for 10 minutes. Cool.


Melt chocolate. In a medium bowl, stir 3/4 c. flour and 2 Tbsp. sugar with a pastry blender. Cut in butter until particles are fine. Stir in 2 Tbsp. of melted chocolate and press over bottom of a spring form pan, 9" x 3". Bake in a preheated 400o F. oven for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the 1 cup of sugar and cream cheese; add vanilla, remaining 1/4 c. flour, egg yolks and sour cream; beat to blend. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites stiff and fold into cheese mixture. Remove 1-3/4 c. of the cheese mixture and fold it into the remaining melted chocolate. Pour half of the plain mixture over crust. Top with spoonfuls of half of the chocolate mixture, repeat with remaining mixtures and swirl batter for a nice marbled effect. Place in the 400o F. oven and at once turn it down to 300o F. Bake 1 hour, then let cake stand in shut off closed oven 1 hour. Cool in a draft free place 2 to 3 hours. Chill 8 hours before serving.

Cake will have a crack and certainly takes a long time to make, but it is really delicious.

Jewish Life and Living thanks Brenda Goldstein, Judita Jacoby and Fran Paskowitz for the recipes. These recipes and more can be found in "Kosher Cookery" printed by the Young Israel of Greater Buffalo.

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