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Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival back in Monterey Square for 2017

  • Community members braid Challah bread for a previous Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival. (Savannah Morning News file photo)
  • The popular annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival moves from Forsyth Park to Monterey Square this year. (Savannah Morning News file photo)
  • The popular annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival moves from Forsyth Park to Monterey Square this year. (Savannah Morning News file photo)
  • The popular annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival moves from Forsyth Park to Monterey Square this year. (Savannah Morning News file photo)
 

Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival back in Monterey Square for 2017

24 Oct 2017

Congregation Mickve Israel and Savannah’s Jewish community commemorate the 29th year of one of the city’s most anticipated events, the Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival, on Oct. 29.

Festival fanatics, take note: this year, the event returns “back home to Monterey Square and Mickve Israel,” said Jennifer Rich, executive director of Congregation Mickve Israel.

“We’ve decided to move it from Forsyth Park to give us more space for people to mingle, eat and sit,” she said. “We’re looking forward to it feeling like a big block party surrounding the temple.”

The festival grew out of a small event in the temple’s social hall and “has grown over the years to be one of the most popular and anticipated festivals in Savannah,” said Rich.

“The festival is, and has always been, a way for Congregation Mickve Israel and the Savannah Jewish community to ‘open our doors’ to the Savannah community. To share our Jewish heritage, our flavorful food, our music and our ruach [spirit] with all the various ethnicities, religions and backgrounds within our great city.”

The Jewish community has been part of Savannah since the beginning.

“The Jewish Community is very proud to be part of the founding members of Savannah,” said Rich, “having been here since three months after James Oglethorpe founded the colony. Being part of the fabric of Savannah has enabled us to be integral in the development and growth of our city.

“We take pride in our special relationship with the other faith and ethnic communities here. The annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival is our way of sharing some of the Jewish traditions and Jewish food that we love with this city that we love.”

Savannah’s connection with Israel remains vital and vigilent.

“Savannah has developed a very strong relationship with Israel during the past several years due to the hard work of former Mayor Edna Jackson,” said Rich.

“She established close ties with the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta and, working with the Savannah Economic Development Authority, many Israeli companies moved to our area to further develop their presence in the United States ... Through the Savannah Jewish Federation, the Israeli police force has helped train our local police, we’ve had many visits from Israeli government officials and business leaders, and we continue to maintain and strengthen our ties to Israel.”

The food fest offers a large variety of traditional Jewish delights.

“For foodies who love pate, the chopped liver is a gourmet Jewish version,” Rich said. “The sizzlin’ Sephardic lamb is filled with Mediterranean flavors and served hot with grilled vegetables in fresh pita bread with tzatziki sauce. The matzah ball soup is homemade using my Grandma Naomi’s special recipe, and for those who love challah, Gottlieb’s Bakery is baking fresh challah for the festival this year.”

Rich said she loved eating her grandmother’s food, which she grew up with but is not readily available in Savannah. She listed fresh blintzes (cheese crepes), kugel (noodle pudding) and latkes (fried potato pancakes) as her favorites.

“My husband loves the hot corned beef sandwiches and the pastrami sandwiches. People love the stuffed cabbage made with beef, spices and a special rich, slightly sweet sauce, and vegetarian options like Israeli salad, Coney Island crispy potato knishes and vegetarian cholent [stew].”

In addition to the food, the festival offers music, dancing and a kids’ zone with activities.

“We have live music featuring the band Klezmer Local 42 and the Savannah Philharmonic,” she said. “The Maxine Patterson School of Dance leads Israeli dancing for the crowd. Plus, we have cupcake decorating, face painting and a kids’ zone with games and activities.

“It’s a fantastic day of eating, socializing listening to music and dancing.”

IF YOU GO

What: The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 29

Where: Monterey Square; tickets sold at corners of square

Cost: Free; food ticket prices vary

Info: mickveisrael.org/food-fest

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