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More than cheesecake!

Monday 25 May 2015

With Shavuot falling on a Sunday this year, the WASNS Primary School teachers prepared an experiential learning program for the Thursday preceding the holiday.

Although Shavuot (Pentacost / Festival of Weeks) is celebrated among secular Israeli Jews nowadays mostly as an occasion for the family to get together and enjoy a dairy meal - especially cheesecakes - it is traditionally an important festival: one of the three ancient pilgrim holidays. The festival has two other associations. It commemorates the day that God presented the Israelites with the Torah, and it was also an agricultural festival - marking the harvest of the first crops and fruits of the new season.

The first graders received a peek into this ancient tradition when teachers Hadas and Voltaire gave them a special treat. Together, the children kneaded and braided challa bread, while Hadas told them the story and heritage of the holiday. Then Voltaire brought bottles of creamy milk, which they began to shake; and before you knew it, to the excitement and wonder of the students, they had churned their own butter! So, once the challah had emerged from the oven, the first graders gathered for a Shavuot feast table and were able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.

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