Thursday, May 19, 2016

2nd Annual Jewish Heritage Festival Set for Sunday

The themed basket raffle will return once again at this year's Jewish Heritage Festival.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Congregation Hesed Shel Emet.

Whether you are experiencing Jewish culture for the first time or reconnecting with your cultural roots, Congregation Hesed Shel Emet’s second annual Jewish Heritage Festival will feature an array of traditional foods and fun, as well as entertainment and education for all.

The Festival is scheduled for Sunday, May 22, from 11 a.m. – 5 Pottstown. Activities and entertainment are free.

Congregation president Amy Wolf shares, “We are so excited to present our 2nd Annual Jewish Heritage Festival. Last year, our first year, was a great success and by the end of the day, people were already asking us if there would be a Festival in 2016. Of course, we couldn’t say no!”

This year’s festival will repeat popular offerings and also add some new ones. 

"Last year we found that people were genuinely interested in learning about our customs,” says Wolf, explaining that the Rabbi's Torah Talk was very well-received, so it will be offered twice this year, at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.. 

This year, there will be two Torah study sessions.
Visitors will have an opportunity to see a Torah scroll, the ancient Jewish Written Law, consisting of the first five books of the Old Testament. Time for questions will be included. Another new Festival feature will be a 1p.m. presentation by congregation member Jack Wolf, about the 120-year history of the Jewish Community of Pottstown.

Also new this year, at 12:30 p.m., the group Music Monkey Jungle will provide an energetic, hands-on, music-based entertainment program especially for the kids. There will also be a kids’ craft table, located downstairs adjacent to one of the dining areas. “This way,” said Wolf, “kids can do some fun crafts while their parents enjoy a nosh.”

For adults, the Festival will offer more vendors this year, selling a mix of secular merchandise and Judaica. Another crowd-pleaser last year, the raffle for themed baskets is returning, giving Festival attendees an opportunity to bid on a variety of interesting items.

Favorite ethnic foods will once again tempt Festival visitors. Patrons can purchase lunch and grab dinner or desserts and breads “to go.” Choose a succulent brisket sandwich or perfectly spiced corned beef on rye or an all-beef hot dog. A vegetarian Mediterranean Platter will also be available. 

Those who prefer lighter fare can enjoy a bagel with cream cheese or throw on “the works” – lox (smoked salmon), onions, and capers. Don’t miss “the sides” – potato knishes (savory mashed potatoes and onions in a light dough), kugel (a slightly sweet “pudding” made with noodles), blintzes (thin crepes filled with slightly sweet cheese) – or enjoy them as your meal.

Home-baked goodies will be available for take-home, headlined by Mandel Brot (twice-baked
Last year's Jewish Heritage Festival attracted hundreds.
almond cookies) and Rugelach (rolled sweet pastries with filling). Other bakery items such as Challahs (braided breads that make delicious french toast or are tasty on their own), hearty rye bread, and other desserts will also be available.

For those who would like to test their cooking skills on some ethnic recipes, the congregation’s own cookbook, “Beyond Brisket and Bagels” will be on sale at a special price of $10, available on Festival day only (regular price, $20).

Ending the day on a high note is the return of the lively and entertaining Klezmer With Class, taking the stage at 3 p.m. 

Group members, most of whom are from the former Soviet Union, are under the direction of Mark Sobol, who immigrated to the United States from Odessa, Ukraine in 1989. A classically trained jazz musician, Sobol has performed at many Philadelphia area venues. 

The group describes their music, explaining, “The word Klezmer comes from two Hebrew words, clay and zimmer, meaning ‘vessel of music or song.’ The idea is that each instrument, the violin or clarinet, for example, takes on human characteristics like laughing or crying with a joyous exuberance or soulful wailing.”

Wolf summarizes the congregation’s goal for the day: “We look forward to this year’s Festival being even bigger and better than last year. It takes hard work and coordination, but we really enjoy coming together to offer this event, and to share our heritage and traditions with folks from the surrounding area.”

In keeping with Jewish dietary laws, the kosher food selections are under the supervision of the congregation’s Rabbi Ira Flax. Dairy will be served downstairs; meat and vegetarian foods will be upstairs.

Congregation Hesed Shel Emet is located at 575 N. Keim Street, Pottstown.
Call the congregation office with questions: 610-326-1717.

For more Festival information and schedule updates, visit:

For more information about the congregation, please visit: or

For more information about Klezmer with Class, visit:

For more information about Music Monkey Jungle, visit:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the exposure, Evan! Hope to see you there!