Simon Family JCC Israel Fest extravaganza promises fun for the entire family—celebrating 68 years

Sunday, June 5, 11 am–4 pm, Sandler Family Campus

Explore everything Israeli at the Simon Family JCC’s biggest party of the year, the sixth annual Israel Fest, honoring Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s 68th Independence Day.

The festival honors all the cultural, artistic, and culinary gifts of Israel, is free and open to the public.

“More than 1,500 people attended last year, and we are hopeful that it will be an even bigger and successful event this year,” says Marcy Terkeltaub, who serves again as co-chair of the festival with her husband, Paul.

“This year’s festivities will include new features, such as a rock wall, a kid’s train ride, and an Israeli DJ providing upbeat Israeli music,” says Michele Goldberg, director of cultural arts at the JCC.

In addition to the Israeli DJ, the festival will feature Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin and the Ohef Sholom Temple Youth Choir sharing songs and musical entertainment, and a session of Israeli Folk Dancing led by area dancers.

For anyone interested in visiting Israel, the Travel to Israel Booth presented by Birthright Israel VA, Chabad, BBYO, and Israel Ministry of Tourism will be a place to stop and get information.

Have a question about Judaism? The Ask the Rabbi Booth returns this year. The booth is in partnership with the Board of Rabbis and Cantors of Hampton Roads. Want to know more about tefillin? Stop by Chabad of Tidewater’s booth to learn about tefillin wrapping.

Other activities include:
• The Neighborhood Harvest: Learn more about having locally grown greens and microgreens delivered to your front door, and enjoy a fun kid’s activity
• Ride a camel
• Game tent with foosball, air hockey and ping pong, along with table top games for the young ones
• Arts and Crafts
• Inflatables
• Outdoor Rock Wall Climbing
• Ryan the Balloon Guy

What’s Israel Fest without food? Area synagogues and agencies are preparing and selling:
• Temple Israel: coffee (hot or iced), espresso, cappuccino
• Congregation Heichal Shlomo: hot dogs, Moroccan doughnuts, Limonana
• Temple Emanuel: fruit smoothies
• Congregation Beth El: rugelach, brownies
• Congregation Beth Chaverim: Crembo cookies, cotton candy
• Kehillat Bet Hamidrash Synagogue: pretzels with various toppings
• Tidewater Chavurah: stuffed grape leaves
• Beth Sholom Village: lamb chops with Mediterranean couscous salad
• Ohef Sholom Temple: Icee frozen treats
• B’nai Israel Congregation: boureka platter
• Simon Family JCC: falafel

Additional beverages and food items include Israeli beer, Kosher wine, soda and water, popcorn by Jody’s Popcorn and ice cream sandwiches.

The Israeli Shuk, or marketplace, will offer myriad opportunities for shopping.

Vendors include:
• Jewish Museum
• Thirty One by Beth Gross
• Mandel Maven • Scrub A Dub Love
• Jewelry by Tammy Rowan
• Oberweis Dairy
• Jewelry by Janet Olivieri
• Books by Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill
• It Started with a Fig
• Crafty Cassie—Fabric Art and Quilts
• Jewelry by Lindsay Kies
• LuLaRoe by Amy Chase
• Baker’s Crust
• Moshe Monzon, Israeli Artist

Visit or call 757-321-2341 for more information about all the food, art, music, and activities to discover at Israel Fest.

To volunteer for Israel Fest, contact Michele Goldberg, 757-321-2341 or go online at