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Santa Barbara Jewish Festival a Celebration of Israeli Independence

Juggler and comedian Izzi Tooinsky one of many highlights of the Oak Park event

The lush vegetation and running stream of Oak Park was an ideal setting last Sunday for the 2011 Santa Barbara Jewish Festival sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.

An estimated 6,000 people gathered to celebrate Israel’s 63rd year of independence. Throughout the day, large crowds mingled around a variety of vendor, artisan and information booths that offered a taste of Jewish culture, ranging from ethnic dishes, a book sale, face painting and handmade jewelry from Israel to having a photo taken at the “Western Wall” by Santa Barbara Chabad.

Award-winning juggler and comedian Izzi Tooinsky served as the master of ceremonies and warmed up the crowd with his act on the main stage.

Other live entertainment included the Ventura Klezmer Band, which performed melodies from the golden age of Yiddish theater and film, and Cantor Mark Childs with the Shir Chadash Youth Choir. Israeli dancing with Philip Feldman and Michal Lynch, and belly dancing by Alexandra King were performed on the second stage. Other acts at the venue included the Bubbie and Zadie Talent Show, and an essay and poetry contest called “What’s Jewcy About Being Jewish?”

Elected officials, including Assemblyman Das Williams, county Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf, and Moriya Blumenfeld, public diplomacy officer of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, presented official proclamations in honor of Israel’s 63rd year of independence.

Festival sponsors included: Gold — Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, J. Belsher Creative, Wilson Printing, Noozhawk and Montecito Bank & Trust; Silver — McConnell’s Ice Cream, Community Shul of Montecito and Santa Barbara, Gelson’s Market, Supertova, Camp Haverim and Congregation B’nai B’rith; and Bronze — Brown & Brown, ADL, Sonrisa Enterprises, Synergenics, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Brent’s Deli and He’Brew.

— Noozhawk society correspondent Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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