Celebrate Israel: Simon Family JCC presents a series of Israel-oriented programs

by | Feb 14, 2014 | Featured

“Can you imagine a Jewish and Israeli food festival right here in Tidewater?” says Terri Sarfan, president of the Simon Family JCC. “It started with a vision for a bigger and improved Israel Fest, and it’s morphed into a series of fabulous programs involving the temples, sister agencies, and the Virginia Arts Festival!”

The JCC is bringing several programs together in what has grown into the Celebrate Israel series. “The Tidewater Jewish community has a history of supporting and celebrating Israel year-round, but we are really looking to engage a greater and more diverse audience by packaging this together as a series and incorporating ethnic food into our Israel Fest program,” says Scott Katz, JCC Center director.

Beginning with the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s screening of Orchestra of Exiles on Tuesday, Feb. 25 —with the Holocaust Commission of the UJFT and the Simon Family JCC as partners— and continuing through Israel Fest, community members —from the youngest to the oldest, Jewish and non-Jewish, all will be enriched by Israeli arts, traditions and food.

Orchestra of Exiles will show at the Sandler Family Campus. This fascinating documentary is about the origins of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which was founded in 1936, at a time when many Jewish musicians were being fired from European orchestras.

Orchestra of Exiles is a perfect precursor to a highly anticipated concert on Wednesday, April 2, when the acclaimed Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs live at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. This presentation in partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival is sure to be an unforgettable performance. Visit www.vafest.org for tickets.

Thursday, May 1 marks the third Celebrate Israel event when Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute, speaks about Geopolitics as part of the Community Relations Council’s Israel Today series. Satloff is an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, political Islam, and U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. This event will be held at 7 pm at the Sandler Family Campus.

On Sunday, May 18, the grand finale— the biggest Israel Fest yet at the JCC takes place. A broad range of dishes will be available at the festival for both immediate consumption and to take home from the many food kiosks.

Area temples will have an opportunity to fundraise by preparing and serving authentic Israeli and Jewish dishes. The largest community party of the year at the JCC also brings Israeli arts, culture, crafts, rides and games for families and community members of all ages.

“Join us in celebrating Israel with the JCC over the next few months; it’s going to be a wonderful lineup,” says Sarfan.

Charles Barker Automotive is the lead sponsor of the Celebrate Israel series. Other sponsors to date include: Platinum sponsors CBN, ECPI University, LoanCare, and L.M. Sandler & Sons, Inc., and Gold sponsors Ann and Bobby Copeland and the Leon Families.

A tremendous undertaking for the Simon Family JCC, there are opportunities to support Celebrate Israel as a donor or sponsor. For information, contact Evan Levitt, JCC development director at 321‑2337 or elevitt@simonfamilyjcc.org. Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Leslie Shroyer