York Jewish Community Center offers traditional food festival by drive-thru this year

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

A  festival celebrating pastrami sandwiches, matzah ball soup and potato knish is just around the corner.

The York Jewish Community Center's 30th annual Jewish Food Festival is happening from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 25 — and those interested in placing an order for a home-cooked Jewish meal can do so until Wednesday, April 21.

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all orders will be picked up drive-thru style. In previous years, families gathered inside the community center to eat together, according to Jonah Geller, chief executive officer of the York JCC.

Last year's festival was canceled due to COVID-19.

"We hope that this is the only drive-thru festival because we're hoping next year we'll be in the building," Geller said, adding that all food will be made either in-house or by a local kosher provider.

The York Jewish Community Center holds their 28th annual Jewish Food Festival, Sunday, April 22, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

This year, individuals can order a platter for $16, which includes one sandwich with seeded rye bread and a choice of brisket or pastrami, with a side of coleslaw, pickle and a cup of matzah ball soup.

For $4 extra, individuals can order the deluxe platter, which includes the sandwich, coleslaw, pickle, soup and a potato knish.

In addition, a quart of matzah ball soup will cost $8, and a slice of kugel will be $4. Six cookies for $5 or 12 cookies for $10 can be ordered too.

Lastly, a BBYO Shabbat kit can be ordered for $10 and will include two candles, one large kosher challah and one small grape juice.

Orders can be placed by calling 717-843-0918, going in-person to the JCC at 2000 Hollywood Drive or by visiting the JCC website at https://yorkjcc.org/

Geller said he encourages all people of any faith to place an order, emphasizing that many of the JCC's customers are not Jewish.

19-Month old Christian Sheehan enjoys a cookie while attending the York Jewish Community Center 28th annual Jewish Food Festival with grandmother Michelle Porter of York, Sunday, April 22, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

"They have come to appreciate this type of food," Geller added. "We're thrilled that Jews and non-Jews are participating in the food festival."

All proceeds made during the food festival will go back into programming for the York Jewish Community Center.

With a focus on early childhood education, the JCC provides babysitting, summer camp and youth and teen fitness programs. Aquatic and fitness programs are also offered for adult members.

Geller, who started his new role as the CEO of the JCC in January, said he is excited to continue serving the York Jewish community through this new role. 

Having participated in Jewish Community Centers his entire life, Geller said he's excited to continue the work for York County.

"The community expects (the food festival) every spring, so we're happy to do this for the community," he added. 

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.