Jewish food with a side of comedy

June 10th, 2015 9:41 am

First Posted: 7/8/2014

Professional chefs, sous chefs, and volunteers will be cooking and preparing an array of tasty delights such as falafel, chicken shawarma, and humus and tahina at the Jewish Food Festival at Everhart Pavilion in Nay Aug Park on July 13 3 - 6 p.m.

Chef Jim McNally, owner of JJ McNally’s Café in downtown Scranton, will be one of the chefs prepping the food.

There will also be traditional Jewish foods such as corned beef on rye, kugels, and potato knishes from Montreal. The festival will also feature American foods made on the grill such as kosher hot dogs, lamb burgers, and wings made with Peggy’s hot sauce. Jewish deserts such as chocolate babka, and rugelach will also be on hand.

“Food is a great uniter,” said Rabbi Benny Rapaport, co-chair of the Jewish Discovery Center. “I love when people from all walks of life come together. Every culture has different foods that evoke memories, nostalgia, their history. When we come together and meet different people, try new foods, learn about various cultures, we become more united.”

Some of the festival sponsors, such as Nichols Village Hotel & Spa, Wegmans, and CMC Geisinger will set up tables to offer coupons and information to the festival goers.

The Jewish Food Festival will also provide entertainment. Laible Blu, a band which mixes Jewish music with bluegrass, is scheduled to perform on the bandstand pavilion. Stand-up comedian MODI, who was recently honored as one of the top 10 comedians in New York City by the Hollywood Reporter, will perform an hour-long comedy show inside a party tent.

The Jewish Discovery Center has been organizing a cultural event each summer.

“Over the years, we realized that the traditional foods that we served were such a huge hit that it became the star of the event,” Rapaport said. “People of all walks of life love the knishes, corned beef, kosher dogs, and more. Of course we have a main headline act as well, but the popularity of the food helped shape the event into the annual Jewish Food Fest.”

Venues for past cultural events for the Jewish Discovery Center include the University of Scranton, the Scranton Cultural Center, and Hilton Scranton and Conference Center.

Concessions of the Jewish Food Fest will begin at 3 p.m. and end at 6 p.m. The comedy show by MODI will start at 5:30 p.m. Admission for the comedy show is $25 online or $30 at the door. For ticket information , visit