You don't have to be frum to study on Shavuot

May 21, 2015

At university one of the keenest consumers of our Jewish society's educational offerings was a practising Christian who would attend everything from Hebrew lessons to in-depth Talmud classes. I once asked him what the learning was like at church. He looked at me surprised, "We don't do learning".


Shavuot puts the meaning into mitzvah

By Rabbi Dr Ben Elton, June 1, 2014

The latest stir in America’s modern Orthodox community has come from an article by Jay Lefkowitz in Commentary, called “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy”. Lefkowitz considers himself to be social Orthodox, which means that he largely observes halachah, but not because he (necessarily) believes that God commanded him.


The spiritual genius of eating cheesecake

By Dr Ben Elton, May 9, 2013

Early leaders of Reform Judaism thought that men and women had moved past ritual and ceremony. In the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London and classical Reform temples in the United States the service was reduced to hymn singing, responsive prayers and a sermon. It soon became clear that this was leaving congregations cold.


One day good, two days bad

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2012

Imagine if the day after Halloween, trick-or-treaters decided to return for a second dose of sugary delights and egg-related threats? Or, if after every Valentine's Day, hopeless romantics expected their loved ones to whisper sweet nothings for a further 25 hours. Madness, we'd say. Once is enough.


Thank heaven for Shavuot

By Simon Rocker, May 24, 2012

Shavuot ought to be the most popular of the major festivals. There are no long services, like Rosh Hashanah; no fasting as on Yom Kippur; no rain-spattered meals in a draughty succah. And a slice of cheesecake is a lot more appetising than a week-long diet of matzah.


Reading the Book of Ruth on Shavuot

May 24, 2012

Alongside the episode of giving the Torah, on Shavuot we also read the seemingly less spectacular story of Ruth.

However, even without a smoking mountain or the Ten Commandments, Ruth is still a powerful tale of embracing Judaism.


Praise be for the chicken-free celebration of cheesecake

By Jennifer Lipman, May 24, 2012

Jews, eh. We like to think that we're a tolerant bunch, but when it comes to behaviour that is deemed to veer from the norm, we can be surprisingly judgmental.


Goat’s cheese and spinach cheesecake

By Fabienne Viner-Luzzato, May 21, 2012

This unusual savoury cheesecake makes a perfect brunch dish but is also a lovely vegetarian option. It can be served hot or at room temperature.
Serves 6 to 8 people

For the base:
250g savoury oatcakes
110g butter, melted
2 tbsp milk

For the filling:
600g cream cheese
3 large eggs
150g goat’s cheese with hard rind
100g sundried tomatoes
8-10 baby cherry tomatoes


No-bake chocolate cheesecake

By Ren Behan, May 18, 2012

This cheesecake slice isn’t light on calories, but it is smooth, creamy, very tasty and only involves a bit of whizzing, mixing and chilling. The result is a lovely alternative to a traditional baked cheesecake. A perfect make-ahead dessert.
Serves 6

200g chocolate digestive biscuits, or similar
50g unsalted butter, melted


Baked custard cheesecake

By Lisa Roukin, May 18, 2012

This delicious, creamy cake is yummy served with a fruit compote.
Serves 12-14
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes plus 4 hours chilling

250g digestive biscuits or similar, finely crushed
125g unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for greasing the tin)
750g cream cheese, softened
225g caster sugar
2 tbsp custard powder
3 large eggs