Funny thing about Jewish culture: It exists. This can be something of a sore point for some of us WASPy types whose heritage comprises a mostly European mishmash, the separate parts of which are no longer identifiable. If we were to hold a festival for our hybrid culture, of what would it consist? We imagine it likely would look and sound just like everyday life. As far as smells, well, white bread and mayonnaise really don't have much of a scent. We'll try not to be bitter, though.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. and features fine-arts activities as well as entertainment by singers and dancers. Broadway performer Mike Burstyn will sing Judeo-centric tunes at 1 o'clock. Debbie Friedman, a reportedly Joan Baez-esque folksinger, will perform at 5. Arts and crafts made by American and Israeli artists will be exhibited and sold in the lobby of the Meyerson. In addition, there will be crafts projects, folk dancers, storytelling, and arts demonstrations.
The most interesting aspect of this celebration, however, lies in the "Speakers' Corner," in which Jewish scholars will touch on some unique subjects. At 12:30, Howard Cohen will tell listeners "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Relationship Between Judaism and Christianity but Forgot to Ask." After that, Rabbi Heshe Abrams will discuss "Torah As a Guide for Tattoo Removal," which we can't even fathom.
Of course, a festival isn't a festival without food, and you'll find an array of kosher items. Just don't expect to satisfy a hankering for turkey legs and funnel cakes -- you'll find those at the next festival for the culturally deprived. --Larra Ann Keel