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Shavuot Is About A Poor Convert — Would Your Community Welcome Her Today?

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, 06/04/2019

Can we, or do we, see past the labels to create an inclusive community where those born in the margins need not remain there? The story of Ruth raises issues that are atypical from much of our biblical narrative, and Gleanings: Reflections on Ruth, a new anthology of modern commentaries on Ruth, edited by Stuart Halpern (Yeshiva University Press/Koren Publishers 2019), seeks to answer some of those questions.

Light and Sweet

Leah Koenig, 06/04/2019

Because I primarily ate rice pudding at these diners, the dish always felt more connected to my Midwestern roots rather than my Jewish heritage. But while researching dishes to include in The Jewish Cookbook—my forthcoming collection of global Jewish recipes—I discovered that rice pudding has a definitive place in the Jewish kitchen, particularly within Sephardi cuisine.

Greek Burekas, A Treat at Shavuot or Year-Round

Marcia Weingarten, 06/09/2016

In our Sephardic community, our roots being Ottoman Rhodes, we make a few special dairy foods for the occasion; sutlach, a creamy rice pudding is one, and burekas, a community and family favorite, is another.

Soulfood for Shavuot

Michael W. Twitty, 06/06/2016

One of the things I like to emphasize about my KosherSoul side is that both the Jewish and African diasporas have been absorbed and have absorbed all of the places we have been.

Finding the Calling of My Soul, A Conversion Story

Avigail Rivkah Hasofer, 05/17/2016

The journey to Judaism was not easy. After about two and half years of regularly attending services, on January 1, 2006 both my son and I went to the mikvah and took on Jewish life on a higher level.

How to Welcome the Stranger: A Modern Midrash

Rabbi Juan Mejia, 05/18/2015

1 in 6 contemporary Jews are new to Judaism. How are we supposed to welcome these converts? Rabbi Juan Mejia, a convert himself, provides a modern reading of the biblical story of Ruth to find some guidance.

Why Dairy on Shavuot?

Lesli Koppelman Ross, 03/06/2021

Although everyone agrees that the food of choice for Shavuot is cheese, most typically blintzes, or a Sephardic equivalent such as bourekas, there are differences of opinion (some quite charming) as to why it is a custom.

Holiday Background

Shavuot provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate inclusion in Judaism. The biblical Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot and tells the tale of Ruth, a Moabite, who after the death of her husband follows her mother-in-law Naomi back to Bethlehem. Ruth declares, “wherever you go, I will go, wherever you sleep I will sleep, your people are my people, your God is my God.” She is understood to be the first Jew-by-choice.

In ancient times, Shavuot was one of three pilgrimage festivals, for which people came to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Shavuot is known as the festival of weeks, falling 7 weeks after the start of Passover. It was timed with the start of the harvest season and pilgrims brought offerings from the first harvest in Israel.

In Jewish tradition, Shavuot is also the time when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Sinai and established a covenant all eternity. It is said that every Jew, past and present, stood at Sinai and the revelation at Sinai is essential element of the Jewish relationship with God.

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