Boulder Jewish Festival turns 25

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For more than two decades, Boulder Jewish Festival has been providing a day of culture and entertainment to folks of the Front Range free of charge. From delicious traditional fare to music that intertwines old and new styles, Sunday’s event — on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn — promises six hours of festive inclusion.

“I think this year is exciting because we have some new elements such as new art and food vendors, a family and kid-friendly magician, some new organizations and a few new music performers,” said first-time festival co-chair Adam Sloat, who is producing the event along with Terri Miro.

San Francisco-based artist Lior Ben-Hur will be performing with his band Sol Tevél. The Jerusalem-born frontman, with Greek and Iraqi roots, delivers a reggae vibe sure to get crowds on their feet. Musician Matthew Banks, who has been a member of Las Vegas’s Blue Man Group for 19 years, will pay homage to the “Piano Man” by jamming out Billy Joel’s greatest hits.

“I try to keep the programming pretty upbeat and the sets short so that attendees can sample some great music, while also visiting our other vendors and organizations,” said Sloat, who has organized the music for several previous Boulder Jewish Festivals.

Boulder Jewish Festival/ Courtesy photo

Musician Matthew Banks will perform the music of Billy Joel at the Boulder Jewish Festival.

Multiple bands and singer-songwriters will play throughout the day, with festival headliners, Lior Ben-Hur and Sol Tevél and Matthew Banks, performing twice — before and after noon.

“This year, we have Eliyahu from Israel playing traditional and modern ethnic music as a one-man band,” said Sloat. “We have Or Zimrah, from local Congregation Har HaShem, who bridges the sacred and the secular by highlighting prayer themes found in pop music — gratitude, creation, redemption, and more in Hebrew or English.”

In addition to amazing live music, various vendors will be providing a diverse array of food.

“We’ll be serving a couple of our most beloved sandwiches, as well as favorite pastries and baked goods like hamantaschen and rugelach,” said Joshua Pollack, owner of Denver-based Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen. “Of course, we’ll also have plenty of our traditional New York bagels and varieties of smoked fish.”

Rosenberg’s Bagels will be selling its famous lox and cream cheese on a New York bagel at Sunday’s Boulder Jewish Festival.

From lamb gyros to knishes to kosher hot dogs, attendees will be able to savor treats from local and visiting eateries. River and Woods, Rye Society, Falafel King and LB Kosher Grill are among the booths dishing out eats.

“Food is such a central part of Jewish culture, and it’s always great to come together to share in the joy of traditional Jewish delicacies,” said Pollack. “I’m looking forward to eating a lot and our team is excited to bring some of Rosenberg’s favorites to the Boulder community.”

Delicious assorted pastries from Rosenberg’s Bagels will be available at the Boulder Jewish Festival.

 

“River and Woods will have wood-oven pita pizza, baba ghanouj mezza plates and organic cotton candy,” said Sloat.

Also present will be rabbis from local synagogues to converse with visitors one-on-one, Boulder JCC, Longmont Shabbat Group and pro-peace organization J Street, among others.

Festivalgoers can do some shopping, as there will be quite the selection of handmade wares from artists, some specializing in Judaica. Gemstone jewelry, dyed fabrics, leather cuff bracelets and colorful calligraphy are just a few of the unique mediums being displayed by artisans.

Lewis Geyer/ Staff Photographer

Luana Ejzykowicz, 6, gets her face painted at the Boulder Jewish Festival in June 2017.

Kids can enjoy complimentary face painting, an obstacle course and a bouncy castle.

“For me, personally, it’s about both giving back to the community I grew up in and taking in people experiencing and enjoying our event,” said Sloat. “It’s a treat for me to see people entertained and moved by music, but there’s a lot of general satisfaction knowing that everyone in attendance is celebrating life and culture from the Jewish perspective of heritage, traditions and aspects of faith.”

It’s Sloat’s hope that this completely volunteer-run festival continues to attract people of all ages and ethnicities in the future. He also hopes to bring in something new yearly, keeping the annual event current.

“Not to get too deep, but there’s value and strength in celebrating our differences, our similarities, and to share the human experience while breaking down any barriers or walls to any religious, geographic or cultural group,” said Sloat.


If you go

What: Boulder Jewish Festival
When: 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Boulder County Courthouse Lawn and 1200-1400 blocks of the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder
Cost: Free
More info: boulderjewishfestival.org

 

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