By| JonMichael Francis

Food, such a universal thing. It has the power to bring people together, create conversation and preserve culture. The saying that people, who give you their food, also give you their heart couldn’t be a more true statement for the Tallahassee Jewish Food & Cultural Festival.

The 9th annual event was held Sunday at Temple Israel, 2215 Mahan Drive, from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. with beautiful sunny skies above.  Community members were out and about exploring all that the Festival had to offer.

Outside tents and tables highlighted local crafts, artists and trades. Live music vibrated through the venue as performances took to the stage. Israeli dancing was performed and their very own Jewish/Southern rock band, Bagels and Biscuits, made an appearance in the afternoon. Activities and booths were stationed for children as well, that allowed for hands-on craft making.

Within the temple, lines overlapped and chatter amongst everyone as hundreds got their servings of Jewish cuisine. Corned beef and pastrami sandwiches were the highlight of the Festival, often selling out quick. Quarter pound Kosher hot dogs, potato Knish and Matzo Ball Soups were popular items too.

“It is such a welcoming community here,” said Patricia Lee, a Tallahassee resident. Raised as a Christian, Lee has enjoyed being able to learn about the Jewish culture, faith and religion at Temple Israel. Having attended classes and services at the Temple for several years now, Lee enjoys how everyone embraces and appreciates each other.

“It is such a lovely community and the people here are great. I enjoy coming to this festival and being able to try all the delicious food,” Lee said. “The desserts are decadent. From the cheese cake to the Rugelach to the Hamantash to my personal favorite, the Kugel, everyone will find something unique that they will love.”

As hard workers prepared and served the food, everyone had a smile on their face and eager to share their culture with the community. For Hannah Rivera, cooking the food is a rewarding aspect to be a part of. By supporting the festival it allows for the event to continue which Rivera sees as an important event for the Tallahassee community.

“I think it is great that we have this Festival,” Rivera said, “I wish there were more cultural festivals in town like this one that allowed for the sharing of knowledge, culture and of course, food.”

As Rabbi Jack Romberg made his way through the festival, he made time to visit and speak to much of the festival attendees. Warm embraces, Rabbi Romberg wants it known that his doors are open to all who seek to worship, learn and serve the community. All proceeds from the Festival go to supporting the community projects of Temple Israel.

“I’m glad I got the chance to make it out to the festival this year,” said Susannah Rowan, FSU student. “I’m already looking forward to next years event. The live music and warm weather was the perfect setting for trying new food and experiencing a new culture,” Rowan said.

Photo Credits: JM Francis
  • |