I found a spot on my usual parking block last Sunday, and sat in it for a half hour on Monday morning, in a completely civilized, non-anxiety-provoking alternate-side-parking session: the sweeper came at 7:45; the guy in back of me made room for me, and I made room for the woman in front of me. Because alternate-side is suspended on Wednesday and Thursday for Shavuot and on Monday for Memorial Day, I would be good till the end of the month, if I weren’t planning on observing Memorial Day in the time-honored fashion, by getting out of town.
Shavuot turns out to be interesting. On a Web site called Judaism 101, I learned that this Jewish holiday, called the Feast of the Weeks, is celebrated seven weeks after Passover (vaguely corresponding with Pentecost, which falls fifty days after Easter, but has nothing to do with it, nothing at all, and is not on the Alternate Side Parking Calendar, so just forget about it). It commemorates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. (One Web site features a still of Charlton Heston as Moses, receiving the Ten Commandments.) The Israelites overslept that day for their date with G-d, and so to make up for it, it is traditional to stay up all night the night before, reading the Torah. Shavuot is also a harvest festival (barley, first fruits), and one of the readings is the Book of Ruth, which is a lot about barley. Ruth, a convert to Judaism, was the great-grandmother of King David, and Shavuot also happens to be David’s birthday, as well as his death day. (It is the year 5767, by the way.) Finally, in observance of the dietary laws set forth in the Torah (or perhaps as an homage to the land of milk and honey), it is customary on this day to eat a dairy meal, preferably cheesecake, the apotheosis of dairy.
Of all the pastries associated with religious holidays—hot cross buns, jelly doughnuts, zeppole—this cheesecake of Moses is my favorite.