The YM-YWHA of Union County is hoping a new partnership will make its annual Jewish Fair and Expo — now in its bar mitzva year — an even larger celebration of all things Jewish.
The “Y” on Green Lane draws its membership primarily from Union, Elizabeth, and nearby communities like Springfield, Linden, Cranford, and Clark.
But now, as a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, it is hoping to draw people from across the region, which includes Essex and Morris counties, to the fair on Sunday, Nov. 23.
Federation president Leslie Dannin Rosenthal will speak at the fair, as will the community’s youth shaliah, or Israel emissary, Maor Tiri, who has an office at the Y.
In addition to cosponsoring the event, the federation has provided a 50-inch HD television as a prize that will go to the winner of a drawing.
Bryan Fox, the Y’s executive vice president, welcomed the closer partnership with the Whippany-based head office, which came following the 2012 merger of the former MetroWest and Central federations.
“With finances getting tighter, it’s been great to get support from the federation in various different ways,” said Fox. Tiri, who came to the Y via the federation, will also supervise one of the Y’s Israel-focused summer camps in 2015.
The fair’s partnership model has shifted in another way too. B’nai B’rith, which cosponsored the day in the past, won’t be doing so this year. But according to Jani Jonas, the Y’s assistant executive director and prime mover behind the fair, many of the B’nai B’rith members who helped as volunteers will be on board again this year.
“The mission of the program is to keep a strong Jewish presence in our side of the community,” she said, “and most of our past volunteers want to keep the momentum going.”
As ever, in addition to a “shuk” with about 50 vendors, the fair will feature klezmer music by the Hester Street Troupe and songs in Hebrew and English by students of the the Jewish Educational Center Yeshiva Choir. There will also be a talk for parents and high schoolers on how to select the right college and guidance on gaining admission.
There is no entry cost for the event, other than a $5 fee for the kids’ carnival, which this year will fill the gym with inflatables. “This isn’t a fund-raiser,” Jonas stressed. “We don’t want there to be any barrier to people coming. It’s about the community getting together and having fun.” There will also be kosher food from Jerusalem Pizza.