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On the scene: Jewish Heritage Music Festival
On a cool Sunday evening, hundreds of people set up lawn chairs and picnic dinners around Kensico Dam Plaza for the Jewish Heritage Music Festival, the last of the Westchester County ethnic celebration series.
The festival is an annual, vendor-less celebration highlighting Jewish music, such as klezmer, a traditional Eastern European genre.
Festival coordinator Kenny Green began the day’s festivities with a welcome message, in which he requested a round of applause for the beautiful weather. “I had to work really hard to pull that off,” he joked.
“This event is special because it’s a time to celebrate," said Elliot Forchheimer, the executive director of the Westchester Jewish Council. "When you pick up the paper, you read so many headlines about so many lousy things in our world. But this is a day to come together and celebrate.”
While the audience clapped along and enjoyed their dinners, performers took the stage, wowing the crowd with their high-energy talents.
Scarsdale resident Lori Marks Esterman lounged on a blanket near the stage while her children played nearby.
“I’ll confess, we didn’t know there was going to be a music festival today,” she said. “We came up just for a family picnic and fortuitously, the festival was going on. It’s nice to be outside and have the music during our picnic.”
Although the Jewish Heritage Music Festival has been going on for many years, this year's celebration is the first to be sponsored by the Westchester Jewish Council. And they have big plans for it.
“Next year, we are planning on expanding it to include and go beyond Yiddish music," Forchheimer said. "It will be bigger and better. We are aiming for a Jewish Woodstock!”