Israel Fest at the Simon Family JCC a Celebrate Israel event

Sunday, May 17, 11 am–5 pm

The biggest outdoor community event of the year, Israel Fest promises to be a day of fun for the entire family. Israeli cuisine, the return of the Israeli band Hataklitim, the Bar Kocva Israeli Art Expo, and so much more will assure that the Simon Family JCC is moving and grooving with all things Israeli at this annual festival celebrating Yom Ha’Aztmaut.

An additional reason to celebrate on May 17 is that this also happens to be Yom Yerushalayim, the Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War.

The JCC’s Israel Fests are known for delicious food, and this year suggests scrumptious edibles once more. Eleven food vendors will sell Israeli and Jewish cuisine, as well as fruit smoothies, cotton candy, hot dogs and fries. As last year, all area synagogues and Beth Sholom Village will be vendors. Among the many exciting entrees are traditional Israeli bourekas (stuffed savory pastries), stuffed grape leaves, falafel, hummus and poached salmon.

Returning from last year’s festival is Hataklitim, a band that covers pop hits in Israel and often plays in Tel Aviv and other cities in the “center” of the country. Singing only in Hebrew, the band delivers fun, upbeat and light music that “makes you want to jump up and down,” says band member Yaron Halfon. Hataklitim plays Israeli hits from the ’80s and ’90s including covers of Mashina, Tislam, Benzin, Gidi Gov, Shalom Hanoch, Monica Sex, Fortis & Saharov and Arik Einstein.

A variety of four-legged friends will also participate in Israel Fest. Both the very fun and famous camel rides and the petting zoo with miniature farm animals, are returning.

Other activities include inflatables, monkey motion ride, face painting, arts and crafts, caricatures, balloon animals and a new “Ask the Rabbi” booth.

Local vendors in the “shuk” will sell jewelry, art and other wares. New this year is the Bar Kocva Israeli Art Expo, featuring the work of 45 Israeli artists and more than 2,000 pieces of handcrafted fine art, Judaica, ceramics, wood, sculpture, glass and jewelry.

“Think ahead to the gifts you’ll need for holidays,” says the artist Bar Kocva Moshe, artist and owner of the traveling expo. “This is a wonderful opportunity to buy outstanding items found in galleries and fine stores internationally.”

Israel Fest is the third of four events in the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel Series, presented by Charles Barker Automotive. Tickets for the closing event, David Broza Live at the Sandler Center on Thursday, May 23, will be available for sale at the festival.