In the interest of being thorough (if not punctual) here is a rehash of our Shavuos last week. Chana stayed in seminary for a last hurrah (seminary ended a few days later), so it was just the four of us here. Shalom Shachne learned the entire night with his chavrusa (study partner) and we ladies surprised ourselves by staying up as well!
A few days before the holiday, I offered to host a learning session for tween/teen girls at our house and, in the best Malden tradition, make a midnight ice cream party for them (neighbor: "umm, we're having chicken for our meal that night. Will your ice cream be dairy?" Thankfully, we had a pareve option). We started the night with 9 girls listening to the very interesting, funny and heartfelt story of one woman's conversion to Judaism. After much ice cream, we moved on to a homemade Jewish trivia game that our neighbors made, with questions by each family member (very interesting to see the different level of difficulty based on who wrote the question. My favorite was, "what's the bracha you make on [older sister's] onion soup?" although there were much harder questions, such as "Name all seven female prophets", which, even working all together, we couldn't do).
6 girls and two mothers made it all the way to hear Megillat Ruth, which was read at 4:45 a.m. (!). Similar to Pesach, it was a bit odd to have two days' worth of events smushed into one day, but, because Shavuos was immediately after Shabbos, we at least had that "two day" feel to the holiday.
We are still working our way through all the fabulous cheesecakes Penina made, but I'm quite sure I don't hear anyone complaining!
And speaking of cheesecake: what a riot to be in a country were everyone makes cheesecake the same week. The supermarkets had huge sales on dairy products; one place even brought in 4 large refrigerated cases to go in the first aisle of the store, where all the seasonal/on-sale items go. One person stocking the shelves was wearing a shirt from Tnuva, the largest dairy here. It wished everyone a "happy, healthy and delicious Shavuot". I tried to take a picture, but Penina told me it looked like I was stalking him, so you'll just have to take my word for it :)