Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 5:56 pm | Fair 65º


Humorist Izzi Tooinsky to Emcee Santa Barbara Jewish Festival

May 15 event at Oak Park will feature a full lineup of entertainment and more

The Santa Barbara Jewish Festival is pleased to welcome award-winning and world-renowned juggler, storyteller and comedian Izzi Tooinsky as the 2011 master of ceremonies for the May 15 event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oak Park.

Musical entertainment includes the Los Angeles-based Kol Sephardic Choir, bringing a rare musical offering of Sephardic Romanceros sung in the ancient tongue of Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish style whose songs reach back to 15th-century Spain. They will also be sharing their liturgical/religious songs sung in Hebrew with Sephardic melodies.

Other entertainment will include Cantor Mark Childs with the Congregation B’nai B’rith Temple Band and the Shir Chadash Adult Choir and Youth Choir (including a Debbie Friedman musical tribute). The Ventura Klezmer Band will perform European Klezmer music such as freylekhs and horas, as well as music from the golden age of Yiddish theater and film. The Jewish folk/soul collective called Mikey Pauker & The Tribe, featuring Leah Shafritz, will perform their single “Sim Shalom,” which just won the New Ruach NFTY music competition. And the UCSB Middle East Ensemble will perform a set of Jewish music from Yemen, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Moorish Spain and beyond.

A second “Mishpohcha” Stage will be co-hosted by Weezy Palanker, creator of the JCC’s popular “Comedy Club for Teens” and by 14-year-old local comedian Aaron Linker.

The Santa Barbara Jewish Festival will feature the Bubbie & Zadie Talent Show; a Birthright Israel Expo by UCSB’s Hillel students; an art, essay and poetry contest on “What’s Jewcy about being Jewish”; a “Community Blessing of Our Children” ceremony with Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer; and a pre-schooler costume parade. Meditation and movement to “Embody the Divine,” guided by Rabbi Alyson Solomon, also will be highlighted.

Everyone will have an opportunity to have their picture taken at “The Western Wall” by Santa Barbara Chabad, and of course, enjoy great Jewish and other foods, arts and crafts vendors, Israeli dancing and kids’ activities. A Book Sale and Silent Auction will round out the festivities.

A special 63rd Israel Independence Day Commemoration Ceremony will include locally elected officials and formal representation from the Israeli Consulate’s office in Los Angeles.

The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.

— Suzy Kaufer is a coordinator of the Santa Barbara Jewish Festival.


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