2nd Annual ‘St. Charles Jewish Festival’ will celebrate Jewish pride

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Bassy Landa (center), co-director of Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles, speaks as (from left) Rabbi Yosef Landa, Missouri Rep. Adam Schwadron, St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer and Rabbi Chaim Landa look on.

Until recently, St. Charles County had been home to at least two dozen churches and zero synagogues.  The lack of Jewish gathering spaces in St. Charles did not appear to deter western migration, as an estimated 6,000 Jews now live in St. Charles, O’Fallon, St. Peters, Lake St. Louis, Wentzville, and Cottleville. And thanks to Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County, Jews in the area now have a place to call home. Those numbers come from a 2014 Jewish Federation of St. Louis demographic study, so there may well be more Jews living west of the Missouri River in 2022.

These are statistics worth celebrating, don’t you think? So, let’s celebrate!

St. Charles Jewish Festival
Message board welcoming participants to last year’s inaugural St. Charles Jewish Festival

2nd annual “St. Charles Jewish Festival”

The St. Charles Jewish Festival is returning on Sunday, August 14th from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. outside the Foundry Art Centre and will showcase and celebrate the local Jewish community, as well as bring the sights and sounds of Jewish life from around the world to St. Charles. The festival is organized by the Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County and its St. Charles Jewish Family Network.

“We’re gearing up for an extra fun and joyful experience for all, with a special track for young families,” said Bassy Landa, who, together with her husband Rabbi Chaim Landa, directs the Chabad Jewish Center of St. Charles County. “After all, that’s our motto — Jewish. Done Joyfully! — and we’re preparing to double, and possibly triple last year’s 1,200-person attendance.”

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Attendees will receive a “passport,” which will enable them to take a trip around the Jewish world without ever leaving St. Charles County, as they’ll encounter characters dressed in costume representing Jewish communities from across the globe — including Europe, North and East Africa, Asia and more — who will share the history of Jewish life and culture, and stamp visitors’ passports.

8th Day
8th Day

St. Charles Jewish Festival: The music

Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy live Jewish music with the festival’s lineup anchored by 8th Day, a popular and groundbreaking Chassidic band. The West-Coast-based pop rock Jewish group is acclaimed for bringing a genuinely Jewish twist to the genre, and has been entertaining sellout crowds across the world since 2004.

“Shakshuka” — the area’s newest Jewish music group — will bring its eclectic mix of musical favorites to the Festival. The band is a group of old and new friends who play a mix of Jewish and Israeli music, “adding new spice, fragrance, and taste to familiar tunes.”

Shakshuka

Renowned children’s entertainer Bobby DooWah will perform, and children will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Bubble Bus — a festival favorite that will bring the joys of bubble-making to the day’s festivities.

Bobby DooWah

St. Charles Jewish Festival: The food

Talk show host, acclaimed foodie, and self-proclaimed “lover of matzo ball soup” John Carney will lead a team of local volunteers who will be grilling up a massive St. Charles kosher cookout that will be available for purchase. Driving in from the South, Holy Smokes — a kosher Nashville BBQ food truck — will bring its unique fusion of Tennessee BBQ, Middle eastern favorites, and Jewish deli classics. There will also be a ‘tasting kit’ featuring Jewish cuisine from around the world.

The sukkah

Attendees will also be invited to make their imprint on Jewish life in St. Charles County, as a repurposed shipping container will be converted into a sukkah — the greenery-topped hut used in the celebration of the Jewish autumn holiday of Sukkot. Led by nationally recognized local artist Zach Smithey, the sukkah will be decorated inside and out by festival attendees, and after the festival, it will be transported to the property of the future home of Chabad’s Jewish Community Center in O’Fallon, where it will headline the holiday’s observance this fall.

For more information and to secure your free ticket, visit: www.JewishStCharles.org/Festival