Through all the clouds and rain, Israel Fest brought the sun

June 27, 2016

Other News

The Simon Family JCC didn’t allow the rumors of showers to rain on their parade for the 2016 Israel Fest. In fact, on Sunday, June 5, when the festival began at 11 am, the day brightened for all who attended.

In place of sunrays and clear skies, the roof of the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus sheltered each and every patron.

Artisan booths, music, food, games, crafts and more filled the building with the scents, sounds, and sights of Israel.

Israeli artist Moshe Monzon felt a sense of genuine culture that day. “I have been to many festivals, and I tell you this one was the largest and nicest. They really captured the authentic sound of Israel. Sometimes I go to a festival and it does not feel like Israel, but they did it—100 percent!” he says.

More than 1,600 visitors poured into the JCC to visit Israel without leaving Hampton Roads. The many activities and games included raffles, prizes, ping-pong, painting, air hockey, balloon animals, caricature portraitures, rock climbing and a bouncy house.

Melissa Stern, who won the Edible Arrangement raffle, was delighted by her experience. “I was kind of shocked,” she says of her reaction to winning the bouquet. “It was my birthday as well, and we went to Israel Fest last minute and my daughter suggested we do the raffle. We all entered, and I won. It was great!” Stern says her 12-year-old daughter enjoyed the new additions at this year’s Israel Fest, specifically the wide range of food options and the inflatable rock wall.

Stern has come to Israel Fest year after year, and one thing brings her back each time: “I like to support Israel; we have family there, and I have never been there, but one day I will go. Israel Fest is a great way to support and visit Israel,” she says.

By 4 pm, the festivities were drawing to a close, but bits of Israel still lingered at the JCC. Monzon and his wife prolonged their stay for two more days to share their artistic creations and culture with the rest of the Tidewater community.

Gaby Grune

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