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Wisconsin Jewish food fest to feature international dishes, entertainment

On tap for the fifth annual event in Mequon: shawarma, falafel, pastrami, corned beef and matzah-ball soup.

Entertainment, arts-and-crafts and more will be featured at the fifth annual Jewish Food Festival in Mequon, Wis., on Aug. 6-7, 2023 Credit: Chabad of Mequon.
Entertainment, arts-and-crafts and more will be featured at the fifth annual Jewish Food Festival in Mequon, Wis., on Aug. 6-7, 2023 Credit: Chabad of Mequon.

What began as a rabbi and his wife offering a “Taste of Kosher” at local supermarkets has now grown to an annual gathering that last year drew as many as 6,000 people.

The fifth annual Jewish Food Festival will take place on Aug. 6-7 at the Rotary Park in Mequon, Wis., led by Rabbi Moshe and Chaya Sheina Luchins of the Peltz Center for Jewish Life (Chabad of Mequon, a division of Lubavitch). It will feature a range of international dishes, including those from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The rabbi said people ask him what makes food Jewish and he responds by saying that “a lot of our foods were picked up from the different countries we were living in,” referring to the range of nations associated with Diaspora Jewry.

New York-style corned beef and pastrami sandwiches will be available at the fifth annual Jewish Food Festival in Mequon, Wis., on Aug. 6-7, 2023. Credit: Chabad of Mequon.

Alongside falafel and shawarma, other foods on sale (most for less than $20, according to the rabbi) will include matzah-ball soup, and New York-style corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. All meat will be glatt kosher with a booth featuring pareve desserts.

The festival will also offer other activities, including a new, interactive replica shtetl Luchins likens to “Fiddler on the Roof,” saying: “There are so many things we do to this day in Jewish life that have not changed, and we’re recreating that in this environment.”

Opportunities will also be available to make candles and even matzah. Entertainment includes live music, magic shows, artists and face-painting.

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