The Natelli Community Center in Urbana is standing in for New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen on Sunday as part of the third Beth Sholom Jewish food festival.
Marcia Newfeld, executive director of Beth Sholom Congregation, said the synagogue has hosted two festivals at the community center, but this is the first time it has left the center’s grounds.
“We want to put the name out there and have some fun,” she said. “The feeling in this day and age is you have to go where the people are. ... We thought it would attract people from the south end of the county, hopefully just to let them know Beth Sholom is here.”
The festival, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the community center at 9023 Harris St. in Urbana, will offer typical Jewish deli fare, such as pastrami and corned beef, as well as representations from Israel, including falafel and shawarma. All offered items will be kosher and dairy-free.
The sandwiches will cost between $4 and $6, and sales are cash only. There will also be children’s activities, including face-painting, a moonbounce and music.
Newfeld said she expects between 50 and 100 guests. All the food sold at the event is prepared by a group of volunteers from the congregation.
“They’re really very good at it,” she said. “We’re very glad to have them.”
One of those volunteers is Betsy Nicholas, who’s been involved in cooking at both prior food festivals. She said she volunteers because she loves to cook, and enjoys the challenge of cooking for such large groups of people.
“It’s a challenge and it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “There’s a thrill. It’s a little risky. You don’t know how much to have and what people will want to have.”
Nicholas said the move to Urbana required shrinking the menu, offering less than in years past.
She said she enjoys being able to offer homemade foods that some guests may not be able to get in Frederick, rather than items that are packaged or frozen.
“Food is such a big part of religious and ethnic tradition — we’re no exception,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas said her favorite part of volunteering is the last-minute rush of preparation before the food is brought out to hungry guests.
“Sunday morning will probably be a little crazy in our Beth Sholom kitchen, and that’s just part of the fun of it,” she said. “Knowing that you, along with your friends, are participating in something that’s a little bit novel in Frederick.”