WJC Sisterhood’s Great Cheesecake Challenge

Shavuot begins this Thursday evening. Shavuot is one of the three special Shalosh Regalim holidays, where we are supposed to travel to Israel, to celebrate the revelation of the Torah on Mt Sinai.

But there is another story we honor too, a woman’s story of a true Ashet Chayil: The story of The Book Of Ruth.

Each year we remember Ruth’s loyalty to her mother in law Naomi, her commitment to the Israelite people, and her reward of remarriage to the good Israelite, Boaz. This union then seals her fate as becoming an ancestor of King David.

What other culture celebrates the relationship between a mother in law and daughter in law? This is something!

Culturally, modern Jews commemorate Shavuot by eating dairy foods—

Some derive the practice directly from scripture, saying we eat dairy to symbolize the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8) promised to the Israelites, or that “milk and honey are under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). A sage discovered that the initials of the four Hebrew words in Numbers 28:26, which describe the sacrificial meal offering on Shavuot, spell mei halav (from milk), suggesting that dairy food is the acceptable dinner for the festival. At Sinai, the Israelites were considered to be as innocent as newborns, whose food is milk.

—From My Jewish Learning


Sisterhood invites you to commemorate Shavuot this year by joining out Great Cheesecake Challenge! Make a cheesecake for Shavuot AND send us a photo of it!

For every cheesecake photo shared with Sisterhood, Sisterhood will donate $5 to our local food pantry, up to a total of $1000!! That’s a lot of cheesecake. Simply send your photo to thewjcsisterhood@gmail.com by Sunday, May 31st.

• How can I participate even if I don’t eat/make cheesecake?
Make a quiche, blintzes, gluten-free or dairy-free cheesecake etc. It’s the good intention that counts more than the cake! Send us that picture. If you’d like to support our cause without making a cake, please join us in matching our $5 donation or any amount that feels good to you, by sending thewjcsisterhood@gmail.com a donation via PayPal (friend to friend).

• Need a Recipe?
On a holiday that honors mother in law and daughter in law bonds, I can’t think of a better recipe to share with you, than sending you my own mother in law’s cheesecake recipe.

My mother in law is a wonderful cook; not only are her recipes delicious and meticulous, but she is generous in sharing them and teaching them to me and my daughters. She cooks for her family, as many Jewish women do, to honor our households and show us love.

Our family cherishes this recipe and we make it each year for family birthdays. It does need a few days in the refrigerator, so prepare it in advance!

Cheesecake Recipe

  • 9-inch round ungreased springform pan.

(For ease of preparation, leave butter, eggs, cream and cream cheese out for a couple of hours before preparation to allow ingredients to come to room temperature)

  • Box Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
    Stick unsalted butter

To bake the graham cracker crust, use the recipe on the box of Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs. One box makes three crusts.

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

  • 5 8oz pkgs. Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Cream the cream cheese in mixing bowl to soften. Add sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour…blend. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Blend in cream. Pour into springform pan. BAKE AT 500 DEGREES FOR 10 MINUTES.
THEN REDUCE HEAT TO 200 DEGREES AND BAKE for: the amount of time varies… One of my ovens runs hot, so the cheesecake is done after 35-45 minutes. The other oven takes 50-55 minutes. The original recipe says it should cook for 65 To 70 minutes, although I have never needed that much time. (Once when it cooked for 60 minutes it came out with a large crack and was too dry.) The filling, when done, should look almost set – it will still be slightly jiggly in the center; it will continue to cook a bit once out of the oven. Most importantly, to know when it is done, the top should be a golden brown. Cool on wire rack on counter (I use 4 cans to lift rack for better air circulation) for about 5 hrs. (It may take only 3 to 4 hours in a cool kitchen. Refrigerate in unopened pan, well wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, for 4 days. (Okay if it’s 3 to 5 days.) Before serving you may need to run knife around sides before removing cake from pan.


Happy baking for a great reason!

Shavua Tov,
Glenna Lee, Isabelle Arditi, Marisa DeSa

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