The brisket's back: Fifth annual Jewish festival in Danbury

The brisket’s back: Fifth annual Jewish festival in Danbury
By Cindy Mindell

DANBURY – There was a panicky moment earlier this year when the brisket sandwiches made famous at Congregation B’nai Israel’s Jewish SummerFest nearly disappeared from the menu.

“But the vegetarians – my husband, our rabbi, our president – all were fighting for the brisket, because it’s tradition,” says Barbara Levitt, festival co-founder and planning committee member. “The president even announced at services that the brisket would be back.”
The meat sandwiches, along with other signature kosher foods, are what inspire rave reviews for SummerFest, says Levitt, who transports a barrel of Ba-Tampte pickles from their source in the Brooklyn Terminal Market for the event. But the annual festival also brings an afternoon of Jewish and Israeli arts and culture to the area.
Now in its fifth year, the Jewish SummerFest came about in a city known for its summertime ethnic festivals celebrating the Italian, Greek, and Lebanese communities, and Latin music.
“A group of B’nai Israel congregants thought, ‘Why not add a Jewish festival to the mix, to share our culture?'” says planning committee chair Peter Ohring. Every year since, an estimated 400 to 500 visitors have enjoyed the event, says congregant Carol Nurenberg.
Jewish SummerFest will be held rain or shine on Sunday, Aug. 22, 12 noon – 6 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Israel, 193 Clapboard Ridge Road in Danbury. Admission is free. Free parking available at St. Ann’s Church, 181 Clapboard Ridge Road, with a free shuttle to the festival site. Featuring several local musical bands playing klezmer, Israeli, and Yiddish music; Israel dance instruction; vendors of Judaica and Israeli products; and children’s entertainment and activities.
For more information: cbi193clap@sbcglobal.net / (203) 792-6161

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