camelIsrael Fest 2014: Amazing Crowds, Amazing Day

The JCC’s Annual Israel Fest, presented by Charles Barker Automotive, was the biggest to date, with an all-time crowd of between 1800 and 2000 people enjoying the delights of the day on Sunday, May 18th.

The festival was the most extensive, expansive and enthralling Israel Fest ever held at the JCC, featuring wonderful live entertainment, festival activities, and of course food, food, food!

On the main stage was the Israeli band Hataklitim, making its very first appearance in the US. Israeli folk dancing, a Hebrew Academy of Tidewater student performance, and the Frailiche Klezmer Band also performed.

AIPAC displayed their Innovation Showcase film, featuring great products and ideas that Israel has shared with the world. Puzzle Israel, a company that offers a varied portfolio of adventure tours and specialized itineraries to Israel that suit many different types of audiences, had tasty food samples.

Throughout the day, festival goers could also take part in camel rides, an archaeological dig, the Ben Yehuda Street Marketplace shopping area, purchase beer and Israeli wine, and see “Israel Matters” from Stand with Us, a 64 foot, multi-panel display with interesting facts about Israel, presented by the Community Relations Council of the UJFT.

Children enjoyed playing Gaga (Israeli dodge ball) in the pit, jumping on inflatables, the monkeys in motion ride, a petting zoo, a strolling magician, a balloon artist, fun color hair spray, temporary tattoos, and caricatures by Victor Marcos.

danceAnd the food, a tremendous array of Israeli and Jewish dishes from the kosher kitchens of every area temple and Beth Sholom Village, was a treat. Food sales raised money for each of the organizations that participated in the food extravaganza.

“Both Paul and I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came, supported and worked at Israel Fest,” says Marcy Terkeltaub, who co-chaired Israel Fest with her husband, Paul. “Everything was perfect and we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The weather was fantastic and the food from the various synagogues and organizations was excellent.  Even though there was so much going on in the community, the turnout exceeded all of our expectations!”

This event the culmination of our cultural arts season, ended on an uplifting note,” said Michele Goldberg, Director of Cultural Arts. “ The participation was beyond all expectation, with incredible collaboration at all ends: from the community organizations to the staff to the volunteers; thank you to all!”

Scott Katz, Center Director added, “Israel Fest was truly a community event with every synagogue participating as well as most community agencies.  It felt great to walk outside from the Cardo and witness all of the activity that was happening and the number of people enjoying the day together.  I can’t wait until next year.”  Please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 17, 2015.

By Leslie Shroyer

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