Osem Cheesecake and Menu for Shavuot
One of the traditions of Shavuot is to eat dairy foods. The food manufacturer Osem marks this festival by advertising menus and recipes that can be made using their dairy products.
The first source is an advert for a Shavuot cheesecake which appeared in Israeli newspapers in both English and Romanian. The date of the advert is unknown, but based on a similar advert, which appears in the second photo, it can be dated to the 1950s.
The second source contains an entire menu for Shavuot, including Osem mushroom soup and Osem fruit soup with macaroni souffle for the main course. The advert contains a recipe for the souffle which uses Osem pasta and several other ingredients. As is traditional for Shavuot recipes, the dish is based on cottage cheese, milk, butter, and grated cheese.
The different recipes are typical of the types of food and cooking that were popular in Israel in the 1950s, when international cuisine was not common and food was simple and based on local produce.
Would You Like to Know More?
Dairy on Shavuot - The Shavuot custom of eating dairy food first appeared in Rabbi Isaac Tyrnau’s Sefer haMinhagim - Book of Customs printed in 1566; however, the reason for the tradition is not explained. Over the subsequent years, a number of religious sources elaborated on reasons for the custom. Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, also known as Chafetz Chaim, dated the tradition back to Mount Sinai. When the Jewish People received the Torah on Shavuot, they became bound by the laws of Kashrut which included complex laws of ritual slaughter. Due to the length of time it took to prepare the meat, the Jewish People were forced to eat a dairy meal to celebrate the giving of the Torah.
Another explanation is that the Torah, which was received on Shavuot, is compared to milk: “ Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11).
Osem - The Osem company was established in 1942 with the merging of three small pasta manufacturers. The first factory was built in 1946 and a soup factory in 1958. In 1964, Osem first created the popular Israeli snack Bamba. Recent years have seen a strategic partnership with Nestle, which has brought the company even greater success.
These adverts can be used in Jewish Studies lessons to discuss the holiday of Shavuot and the tradition of eating dairy products. They can also trigger a discussion on the traditional aspects of the festival that were introduced into everyday Israeli life.
The adverts can also be used in Jewish History lessons when teaching about the establishment of Israel’s economic and industrial infrastructure. It is also interesting to note that Israeli companies at this time still used different languages in their advertisements in order to reach new immigrants.
Art and Media teachers can compare these adverts to modern-day advertising campaigns.
These advertisements can be used in Food Technology lessons in discussions on dairy produce and nutrition and the recipes can even be recreated.
What are these advertisements?
Where and when were they printed?
Which food company is featured?
Which languages are used in the adverts?
Which festival is mentioned in the adverts?
What recipes are provided?
Reading Between the Lines
Why would Osem advertise a menu?
Why would Osem make an advert especially for Shavuot?
What is the connection between these recipes and menus and the festival of Shavuot?
Why are dairy products eaten on this festival?
Why are there very few images in the adverts?
Why do the adverts use different languages?
What do the products and foods mentioned in the adverts tell us about Israeli society at the time?
Does Osem still exist today?
Has the company grown since the 1950s?
Have you ever eaten an Osem product?
If so, what is your favourite?
Find out what the favourite Osem product is in Israel today.
Why do you think that is?
Create a thirty-second clip advertising an Osem product of your choice.