What's the Recipe for Community?

By all counts, this past Sunday’s Federation A TASTE OF ISRAEL Southern Connecticut Jewish Food Festival seemed like a great success. Approximately 750 attendees and volunteers passed through the doors of Temple Israel in Westport, our incredibly gracious hosts, to participate in the day’s event. The crowd represented community-members of all ages and spanned our entire community, including those actively affiliated and those looking for connection. The authentic kosher Israeli food was delicious. The keynote, cooking demonstrations, and breakout sessions were well-attended. The exhibit hall was varied and vibrant. Our steering committee, led by the amazing Elise Meyer, was top-notch.

But, beyond all those measures, Sunday felt like a day in which momentary snapshots were beginning to feel like new landscapes, that our hopes of creating an integrated and cohesive Upper Fairfield County Jewish community were coming to fruition…and multiplying.

A Food Festival Committee-member shared with me a meaningful interaction she had:  I stopped to chat with a young couple with an 18-month-old in a stroller. They had entered the social hall and were pausing to take it all in. It seemed that they were unfamiliar so I approached them to chat. Turns out they are new to our community (and to this country). We started talking about preschool activities and programs for their toddler. I led them down the hall to story-time and I believe and hope that they felt embraced and welcomed.  Our Federation staff have subsequently reached out to this young couple and made numerous connections for their engagement.
At the cookbook sale-table in the exhibit hall, a Federation board-member introduced me to one of our volunteers. Relatively new to our community, having relocated from the Midwest, she said she was anxious to find ways to become more involved in our Jewish community. We are scheduled to meet in two weeks to find opportunities for her to become engaged and active.

A community leader emailed me on Monday:  What a wonderful event! You, the staff and all the volunteers should be commended on such a terrific afternoon. It truly captured what a united community can do when we put our hearts and souls into joint collaboration.

An amazing volunteer team from the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism managed all of our Zero Waste activities for the day, once again resulting in a full-day festival that yielded only one-half bag of trash. And now we’re excited to find more ways to work together.

And, to my surprise and absolute delight, there were deals happening in the exhibit hall. I witnessed, among other things, a great conversation between our exhibitors from H2O Farm, an Israeli hydroponic lettuce-grower in Guilford, and some of our local restaurant and catering exhibitors, discussing procuring their lettuce exclusively from H2O. That’s the kind of impact that I would never have dreamed making at our festival. 

Just as welcoming others to our dining-room tables is about more than simply breaking bread, our Food Festival, in just its second year, and as delicious and nourishing as it is, has become about much more than…well…food.

Together, we are building a recipe for community.
It's been 10 months since Federation Israeli Emissaries Ofek, Itamar, Yuval, and Bar came to Upper Fairfield County to share their love of Israel. Now these young "ambassadors" are preparing to head back home. Enjoy photos and videos from our June 12th communal farewell event and the Emissaries' beautiful video tribute about their time in our community!
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Get involved in Jewish education! 

Looking for dynamic, passionate and engaging teachers for Upper Fairfield County Jewish religious schools.
Positions available for weekday and Sunday programs.

with your resume and the days of the week you are available and she will forward your information to the various Religious School directors.

from our community partners

RSVP ~ Kim Gintoli: (203) 365-6463 / kgintoli@jseniors.org