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Jewlicious Festival 5.0 Offers Celebration, Culture for Young Jews

[Archived from March 20, 2009]

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

What does it take to draw nearly 1,000 Jewish college students and young professionals from more than 25 states and nine countries to California?

The Jewlicious Festival 5.0, which offered a weekend celebration of Jewish youth culture, packed with workshops, discussions and lots of social, educational and enrichment activities. There was even an hour-long concert by renowned singer Matisyahu.

Seven Hillel students from Louisville colleges and universities traveled to Long Beach and came back excited about the experience.

“Jewlicious, what can one say about such an amazing trip!” said Natalya Dubrovensky. “Imagine rows of tables all set up to occupy Jewish festival goers for a weekend of connecting and sharing of stories and Judaism. It was overwhelming … to be a participant for such a wondrous celebration. Getting the chance to welcome Shabbat with more than 1,000 other participants was a memory I will cherish forever! Lighting the candle meant much more to me that Shabbat; it made me rejoice at being Jewish, it made me be proud!

“Picking from the many events being offered was no easy task,” she continued. “I choose to attend the service, which was led by one of the staff working at Jewlicious. I enjoyed singing and reading from the prayer book with my new Jewish friends.”

Dubrovensky enjoyed “meeting new friends that I am going to keep in touch with until next year, when I hope to have another opportunity to attend Jewlicious.”

Josh Sabes the Jewlicious Festival is “definitely an event I will remember. From the second I arrived until I left to fly back home, I was constantly participating in one of the many activities Jewlicious had to offer.

“These included challah making sessions, group discussions about Israel, to Jewish comedy and even a couple of concerts,” he added. “It was especially nice to see how close the people at this festival became. Hopefully these friendships people made will be lasting ones.”

For Jacob Efman, “getting to meet five hundred other Jews, the wine and food is better than any three day vacation you will ever have. The experience I had partying with others and listening to Jewish music groups was amazing.

“If you liked birthright israel,” he noted, “then this will blow you away. There’s everybody there where you can find some kind of similar background and find your own fling. Rabbi Yonah and others have made this a festival you must not miss.”

“This was my first time visiting Jewlicious festival,” stated Sofya Kuznetsova, “and I hope not the last.”

“One of the most amazing things that I experienced is the friendliness of all the people at Jewlicious,” she observed. “There were close to 1,000 young adults at the festival. Even though everybody was so different, from all over the United States, we all had one thing in common – Jewish heritage and tradition.

“Multiple events over three days gave us opportunity to explore religious, cultural and ethnic issues,” she continued. “Multiple concerts throughout the weekend made the event even better bonding experience for everyone. I met lots of interesting people and made many new friends.”

“This was my second year at Jewlicious and I loved every second of it,” said Larry Forman. “The event that I loved the most … would have to be the Shabbat dinner because that is the one time that we are all gathered together in one place under one roof. “There is no greater religious ecstasy than for a Jew from Israel to be surrounded by a mass of Jews once more.”

Joshua Roberts described Jewlicious as “a great place to meet others and search the depth of your faith from every angle of Judaism. The food is great – and often! – but the experience is untouchable. Music, games, even talks and discussions to better learn about the Judaic world, filled the halls of the Long Beach Jewish Community Center.

“The Saturday night concert is always a blast as everyone comes together to share in the thrill. And no matter what,” he concluded, Jewlicious is something you will always take with you, in the awesome memories and the amazing friendships you’ll make there. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, and one every student should take every year possible!”

Konstantin Dudorov also attended the conference.

Hillel, a program of the Jewish Community Federation, provided subsidies to enable these students to participate in the Jewlicious Festival.

For more information about Hillel, contact Tzivia Levin, 618-5308 or tzivial@jcfl.com.

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