jewish holidays

Everything You Need to Know About Shavuot


Next up on the Jewish holiday docket is Shavuot, which is a two-day holiday that’s all about Torah, harvest, and–what else–cheesecake.

Shavuot was originally an ancient harvest festival celebrating the grain crop. In Hebrew, Shavuot means “weeks” and the holiday is celebrated seven weeks after Passover begins. But today, Shavuot is mostly recognized as the anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Read more about the basics here.

So how do you celebrate this holiday with the kids? Some ideas:

1. Dairy Party

The reasons are not entirely known or agreed upon, but it’s customary to eat dairy on Shavuot. Blintzes are especially festive, as when you put two together on a plate, they look like the two tablets that Moses received at Mt. Sinai! We’ve got a recipe for traditional blintzes with cream cheese filling and strawberry rhubarb blintzes with a sweet and sour fruit filling.

You could also go in the cheesecake direction (a mighty fine direction, indeed). Check out this recipe for traditional cheesecake, and then follow it up with these cheesecake variations, which included vegan lemon cheesecake and lavender cheesecake with shortbread-almond crust. Or, if you’d like to really double down, this double layer cheesecake is twice as nice.

2. Edible Crafts

If your kids like to play with their food, these Mt. Sinai Muffins might be just the thing for you. Made to resemble Mt. Sinai with a pair of tablets sticking out on top, you can’t deny these treats look just as cute as they are delicious. Decorate with some LEGO people and you’ve got a whole biblical scene on your hands.

3. What to Read

There are actually some great kids books out there all about Shavuot. The following are our recommendations, which are all PJ Library books, which means you could be getting them for free if you sign upSammy Spider’s First Shavuot, A Mountain of Blintzes, Sadie and the Big Mountain, No Rules for Michael, and The Littlest Mountain.

We also recommend you check out this article on Shavuot values for preschoolers. It shares some great ideas for incorporating relatable values like charity, friendship, and compassion into your celebration of Shavuot.

Molly TolskyMolly Tolsky is the editor of She holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in various literary magazines including Lumina, MAKE, and The Collagist, and her non-fiction has appeared in The Jewish Daily Forward. She isn't a parent, but a very proud aunt. Follow her @mollytolsky.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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