CONNECT TO...AN UPPER WEST SIDE FREEDOM FESTIVAL

On Sunday, April 26th, Engage volunteers at the JCC joined in the excitement of celebrating the 67th Israel Independence Day—Yom Ha'atzmaut. There were many exciting events going on throughout the day. We started off with a delicious and traditional Yemenite brunch, featuring shakshouka, a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin—shakshouka means "a mixture" in Tunisian, Arabic, and other Maghrebi dialects. The brunch was very well attended by a mixture of Engage "regulars" and some fresh new faces. Stay tuned for a feature on one of these new faces—Rachel—a special person who embodies what Engage is all about. As with all of our events, you could feel the enthusiasm everyone had for upcoming Engage events, such as the new women's group meeting and new volunteer activities.
 
Our inimitable leader, Rabbi Brian Fink, welcomed everyone and then led us into the auditorium for an uplifting, spiritual concert performed by the incredibly talented Shlomit & RebbeSoul, the mesmerizing duo of Shlomit Levi, one of Israel’s finest vocalists, and Bruce Burger, a k a. RebbeSoul, an American recording artist who created the modern version of Jewish roots and world music. The songs were in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Yemenite, and Aramaic, creating a unique blend of world music with a distinct Yemenite spice. Not only did we get to enjoy this fantastic duo for an hour-long concert, but we were encouraged to participate by clapping and singing throughout their performance. 

The day provided a wealth of opportunities for the Engage community to once again celebrate all that we hold dear as volunteers: the commitment to our mission, honoring our own people while embracing other cultures, and building and protecting a strong and vibrant community.