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Jewish Food Fest attracts capacity crowd

By Staff | Feb 27, 2011

A line of people flowed out of Temple Beth Shalom Sunday afternoon as they waited to taste one of the many Jewish authentic dishes that the sisterhood makes from scratch.
Event organizer Laurie Warren said they had more than 400 people come through the doors an hour after they opened with that number almost doubling an hour later.
“Our biggest fear at this time is we are going to run out of things,” she said a little after noon.
The festival has taken on a life of its own over the past few years, which is good because it is one of their biggest fundraisers for the Temple, Warren said.
The menu, which was served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. consisted of a corned beef, pastrami and brisket sandwiches, a chopped liver plate, jumbo kosher hot dog, kid’s hot dog, kasha/varnish bowl, chicken soup with matzo ball or kreplach, cabbage soup, rolled cabbage, slice of kugel and knishes.
Jill Emery, who traveled from Fort Myers to attend the festival, said she wished they had not run out of kugel before she got there.
“It reminds me of my grandmother,” she said about the noodle casserole. “It’s happy food for the soul.”
Instead she purchased a corned beef sandwich and cabbage rolls because “it’s Jewish food.”
Emery said she will come again next year because her friend counts down the days until the Jewish Food Fest is held each year.
Rabbi Devora Buchen said everyone seemed to be really happy during the festival on Sunday. She said people came from as far as Punta Gorda to join them.
“This is very exciting,” she said about the crowd that came out. “It is a wonderful way to meet the community.”
Buchen said the congregation wanted to hold the Jewish Food Fest because it is a way to welcome, meet and embrace the community, along with introducing “these wonderful foods.”
“We wanted to embrace the community,” she said about their “warm” congregation. “We do a lot to reach out and say that we are here.”
Merle Mudel said the festival “is phenomenal, it is what we dreamed of.”
She explained that last year they had a lot of leftover food from the festival and this year they are running out of food.
The festival brought back many memories for Mudel from when she went to Jewish bakeries and delis up north with her father. She said she enjoys the festival because she can now find good authentic Jewish food in Cape Coral instead of traveling to the East Coast.
A marketplace was also set up at the festival on Sunday, featuring many different vendors.
Victoria Beckner of Sanibel Naturals was one of the vendors who had a table set up to display her soy candles, soaps and home fragrances.
She began the business two years ago after she got laid off from her job. The idea stemmed from holiday gifts that she used to give to her neighbors.
“One thing led to another,” Beckner said about the business.
All of the products consist of a Sanibel theme, she explained because people want to share gifts of Southwest Florida, along with having those items in their home.
A new fragrance is added to her line twice a year and if it does well during that season it is placed in the permanent line of merchandise.
For more information visit www.sanibelnaturals.com.
Arlene Aberbach had Ugandan necklaces, bracelets and earrings set up for people to purchase. She explained that they were all made out of recycled catalogs and magazines due to the shiny paper.
Whatever she did not sell during the festival she will send back to Ugandan, along with 100 percent of the profits made from the jewelry sold. The money will go towards income, food, medicine and school fees.
“I think it is a good cause,” she said is why she helps the women sell their jewelry. “It is such a good thing, I love them.”
For more information visit www.BeadforLife.org.