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Friday, August 25, 2006

Summer fest aimed at Jewish community

By Christina Paciolla


When Rabbi Yossie Rappaport came to South Jersey, he didn't realize how many people of the Jewish community hadn't been reached yet. So, this Labor Day, to try to get a few more members of the Jewish community together before he leaves South Jersey for home in Brooklyn, he will be helping to start the first Jewish summer festival held in Williamstown.
"It's for the whole family," said Rappaport. "Young and old alike."
The main attraction, said Rappaport, is the full-kosher barbeque at Tall Pines, where the festival will be held. Kids activities are also available at Tall Pines such as miniature golf, hayrides and different sports. Jewish arts and crafts will also be featured.
Chabad of Gloucester County and the Jewish Federation of Cumberland, two outreach programs, are assisting in providing this festival to Jews. The Chabad's goal, which has centers all over the world, is to reach out to fellow Jews, explains Rappaport, and educate about heritage and history; that is the purpose of this Jewish festival.
A main attraction that is on the agenda this year, said Rappaport, is a shofar demonstration. The shofar is a ram's horn used as a musical instrument on Judaism's high holy days. Being so close to Rosh Hashanah, said Rappaport, the shofar demonstration will show children, as well as adults, how the shofar is made. "It's very educational," said Rappaport. "We thought it would be a very appropriate thing to show people how it's done."
Rappaport said this is the second main activity held for the Jewish community, the first being Chanukah on Ice at Hollydell Skating Center in Washington Township.
"This is the second project aiming to bring out the people of the Jewish community," said Rappaport. "We always have things we are cooking."
Rappaport said there is a sizable Jewish community in South Jersey, namely Gloucester County, that yet to be reached, especially in Washington Township, Woodbury and Mullica Hill.
"Nobody really knows how many people are out there," said Rappaport. "A program like this, especially for people with children, is a way to get people out."
Rappaport was recruited just for this reason. Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Rappaport was asked to come to the South Jersey area to reach out to Jews in Gloucester County by his uncle, Rabbi Shmuel, who heads up the Chabad of Atlantic County. Rappaport's cousin is the head of Chabad in Cape May County and another of his uncles's is in charge of Chabad of Vineland. Rappaport has spent the whole summer here.
The Jewish festival will be held on Labor Day of this year from noon to 4 p.m. The charge is $20 per family.
"If someone would like to come, they're more than welcome. We're not going to turn anyone away," said Rappaport.
For information, call 856-794-4866 or e-mail Rappaport at chabadgloucestercounty@gmail.com

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