Jewish community in Pennsylvania is kicking off the summer season with the Bucks County Jewish Festival on June 2 at Bucks County Community College.
This year’s festival features live music, dancing, a variety of food vendors, Israeli wine tasting and a host of activities for children.
Celebrating the warm weather and everything Jewish, the free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 275 Swamp Road in Newtown.
Alan Sheinberg, co-chair of the Bucks County Kehillah, promised an extensive selection of kosher food. The Kehillah is hosting the event with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Chabad Leibovitz will be grilling hot dogs and burgers, along with options from Cherry Grill, a kosher steakhouse which also offers Asian cuisine in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Kehillah members have arranged for about 12 kosher food vendors in all, including Rita’s Italian Ice, soft pretzels and donuts.
“The event is a way to celebrate and express our Jewish identity,” Sheinberg said.
About 15 vendors selling Judaica and Israeli products, such as olive oil, will be on-site. There is also a wine tasting featuring Israeli wines. The kosher wines are not for sale at the event, but are available in the Philadelphia area.
“We are looking forward to attending this year to see friends, eat delicious food and celebrate our heritage,” said Beth Beitler, 47.
She and her husband Gaby and their two sons are members of Beth Tikvah B’nai Jeshurun in Erdenheim and have previously attended the festival.
The festival means a lot to the community, because it gives people a chance to see what Jewish resources are available, have a great time with friends and meet new people, she said.
The indoor-outdoor festival boasts a bounce house and two gaga pits this year, along with face painting and games. Gaga, literally “touch-touch” in Hebrew, is a popular form of dodgeball that is played in a large fenced-in area, usually in the shape of an octagon.
“My son Eli loved playing in the inflatable activities. He said it was a lot of fun,” Beitler said.
More than 30 Jewish organizations will be on-site, said Sheinberg, including Hadassah, Jewish War Veterans, Zionist Organization of America, Golden Slipper Center for Seniors and Israel Bonds. El Al Israel Airlines and local travel agents will be on hand to help plan summer getaways.
More than 46,000 Jews call Bucks County home. There are 16 synagogues and organizations throughout Bucks County serving Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform communities. Representatives from the major synagogues will attend the festival, which drew more than 2,000 people last year.