Greek Jewish Festival Goes Low Key with August Block Party
The Greek Jewish Festival returns next week for another outing. However, this time around, the shindig is more subdued. Instead pitched as a “block party” instead of the usual annual festival.
Founded by Kehila Kedosha Janina on Broome Street six years ago, the event celebrates the culture and traditions of the Greek Jewish community. Years past saw crowds in the thousands, eating, dancing, and gathering.
Like everything else during pandemic times, this year is different.
“While it won’t be as big as our usual festivals, we felt that it was important to bring together our community after being apart for so long,” synagogue director of community development Andrew Marcus tells us.
The block party is scheduled for Sunday, August 15, noon-4:00pm.
Kehila Kedosha Janina is the sole Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote Jews are a unique community of Greek-speaking Jews whose history dates back more than 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 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.