Jewish Cultural Street Festival

On Sunday, October 10, 2010, I drove two miles north to the Palo Alto California Avenue farmers market intending to assemble a lunch for myself from the various prepared foods stalls there. Instead, I found a festival had taken over the street! It was the To Life! Jewish Cultural Street Festival. I explored.

Most of the booths at the festival were for community groups. I was shocked by how many there were: community centers, congregations, retirement centers, schools (for all different ages: day care, pre-school, kindergarten, Jewish elementary schools full-time and after regular school, high school), activists (pro-Israel), banking ("interest-free lending since 1897"), general education/study groups, and more. I even spotted a group trying to get Jewish entrepreneurs together.

There were also booths selling things, mostly jewelry, but also art, pottery, glassware, mosaics, menorahs, and tallit. The two neatest things/services I saw:

  • someone who can custom-print an image onto silk, which is then presented under glass.
  • a board game, Given, designed to teach Jewish culture and encourage charity.
There were two stages of music, one of chorals (at least while I was there) and one of traditional Jewish folk music and dancing. There was also a small stage supposedly allocated for cooking demonstrations, but I never saw anything happening there.

I found six food stands, three of ordinary festival food and three Jewish ones: pastrami sliders from The Kitchen Table (a local upscale kosher restaurant), hummus and pita from Amba (a vegetarian kosher restaurant based on Oakland), and kosher burgers (didn't record the name of the stand). Of course, I ate Jewish food, which I photographed.

Sorry I don't have more pictures of the festival; not expecting it, I'd left my camera at home. I took the picture of my lunch with my cell phone, but I didn't want to go around snapping pictures of the festival with it.

By the way, the festival also had the requisite kids' zone.

It was hot and very sunny so I didn't stay long after browsing everything and seeing parts of some performances. I left after a bit more than an hour.

Incidentally, I overheard someone invent a new term: "I like those flowery shirts but they're a little too designy for me."

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