The Annual Greek Jewish Festival Returns to Broome Street May 19

Posted on: May 7th, 2019 at 5:09 am by

The date is now set for the fifth annual Greek Jewish Festival celebration, commemorating Greek Jewish culture on the Lower East Side. It’s scheduled for Sunday, May 19.

Kehilia Kedosha Janina, the Broome Street institution behind the festivities, expects attendance to exceed last year’s crowd of more than 8,000 people. And, as in years past, the festival will take place outside the landmarked synagogue just west of Allen. The list of partners grows each year – there are over thirty-five community sponsors – this time around covering half the flyer.

The annual Greek Jewish Festival was founded in May 2015 by synagogue leadership as an “effort of KKJ to share the culture and traditions of this community in a major public way.”

“The Greek Jewish Festival, now in its fifth year, has become one of our most successful ventures to date,” said Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, Museum Director of KKJ. “I have seen the Festival act as an in-gathering of our community. Greek Jews have come from all over the country to eat our traditional foods, dance to Greek music on the streets of the Lower East Side in front of the tenements where our families once resided, and to remember what makes us so special.”

Kehila Kedosha Janina, March 2013

The festival kicks off May 19, noon – 6pm.

Kehila Kedosha Janina is the sole Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote Jews are a unique community of Greek-speaking Jews whose history spans over 2,300 years to the time of Alexander the Great. They are historically distinct from the Sephardic Jews, who settled in Greece after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. In the early twentieth century, there were many synagogues on the Lower East Side that served Ashkenazi Yiddish-speaking Jews, as well as Sephardic Spanish-speaking Jews. The Romaniotes, looking to preserve their unique traditions, customs, liturgy, and language, purchased 280 Broome Street, and the congregation opened its doors to worship at its current location in 1927.

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