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Synagogue opens doors to community with Jewish Food Festival

November 16, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Eating the food and meeting the people is the best way to experience other religions, according to Doug Lieberman of Williamsport.

Lieberman is president of the Congregation B'nai Abraham in Hagerstown, which opened its doors to the public Sunday during its 20th Jewish Food Festival. The last festival was held three years ago.

Volunteers said they were expecting at least 250 people to attend the event, which offers at least 15 dishes and a variety of desserts and baked goods, said Sybil Schiffman, who is on the committee that organized the festival.

"These recipes have been handed down to us," she said.

The money raised through food sales will go back to the congregation to pay for infrastructure and education, Schiffman said. She said the food festival is the congregation's only fundraiser.

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Tours of the sanctuary in the synagogue at 53 E. Baltimore St. also were available Sunday.

"It's our opportunity to open our doors to the community," Schiffman said. "The community has been good to us."

Jane Bowen of Hagerstown said she's been to the festival three or four times and always enjoys the food. On Sunday, her favorites were the stuffed cabbage and the matzo ball soup.

Bowen said she had "too much probably, but I have to try everything."

She was also looking at the desserts available to purchase, and said she'd likely go home with some of the pecan sandies and apricot squares.

Marcia Miller of Hagerstown is a member of the congregation, and said she prepared two things for Sunday's food festival.

"It's a way for people in the community to learn (about) another religion," Miller said of the festival.

Keith Baraka of Mount Airy, Md., his wife, Shaye Rudisill, and their 6-month-old daughter, Anya Baraka, attended Sunday's event. They said they enjoyed the food and were preparing to take a tour of the synagogue.

"It's nice to be able to enjoy food you don't have time to make on a regular basis," Rudisill said.

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