by Sara Sideman, JCC Camps at Medford Associate Director
I love fall, and I LOVE the fall Jewish holidays. I know, I know… this time of year is crazy as children are back in school, everyone has back to school nights, PTA meetings and more. It’s hard to get into the groove of the school year and then have it interrupted so quickly, but I love the fall Jewish holidays, and in turn the Katz JCC Fall Festival at the JCC Camps at Medford has become my favorite event of the year. There is nothing like celebrating fall and the chaggim (the Hebrew word for holidays) on our beautiful camp site, as the leaves are starting to change colors and acorns start to descend.
This year, our 5th annual JCC Fall Festival is taking place on Sunday, October 6 from 12:30-4pm. It falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a unique time period called the Yamim Noraim or Days of Awe. As an extra special moment at the Fall Festival, this year, we have three local rabbis who will be leading a tashlich ceremony (join us at the lake at 2 PM)! Tashlich, which literally translates to “casting off,” is a ceremony traditionally performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. During this ceremony, Jews symbolically cast off the sins of the previous year by tossing pebbles or bread crumbs into flowing water. During this ritual, people think of things they’ve done in the past year and then “throw them away,” promising for improvement in the coming year.
Additionally, Sukkot is just around the corner, so we are looking forward to a model sukkah at the Fall Festival. Sukkot is my all-time favorite Jewish holiday… I think it may be the camp girl in me. I look forward to any chance to spend time outside with my family, eating under the stars, celebrating the beauty of nature and the fall harvest. Join our Shoresh division head, Zoe, and her team of counselors by adding a decoration to the sukkah!
Not only is the Fall Festival one of my favorite events of the year, my 5 year old son lives for it. There is nothing better than watching him pull my husband and parents around by the hand, showing them his favorite places at “HIS camp!” He loves our horse drawn hayrides, could spend hours with the alpacas at the petting zoo and would spend all day making craft projects with our community partners. My poor family rarely gets the chance to enjoy lunch from our delicious food trucks! I am also so excited for him to try the new inflatable corn maze!
We are so fortunate to have an incredible list of community partners who will be joining us for the event and running holiday themed craft projects. Apple stamped cards for Rosh Hashanah, sukkah decorations, frames and more can be made and brought home from our Fall Festival event.
We’d love to see you this Sunday! (This event is open to the community.)
Thank you to our amazing community partners:
AEPi of Rowan University • Adath Emanuel • Brith Shalom Lodge • Congregation Beth El • Congregation B’nai Tikvah- Beth Israel • Congregation Beth Tikvah • Chabad of Medford • Cherry Hill B’rith Shalom Lodge • JFCS • Kellman Brown Academy • NJY Camps • Temple Beth Sholom • Congregation M’Kor Shalom • Temple Emanuel • BBYO South Jersey Region • Congregation Rodeph Shalom • Temple Sinai • IAC