“Being Jewish is a Party”: Celebrating 5773 in the Streets of Buenos Aires

On what was anything but an ordinary Sunday, tens of thousands of people flocked to the streets of Buenos Aires’s Palermo neighborhood to experience JDC’s latest edition of Urban Rosh Hashanah—an event widely covered by the Argentinean media and The Jerusalem Post.

“Being Jewish is a Party” was the theme of this 5th annual “open-air” celebration, featuring a host of concerts, stand-up comedy performances, and lectures emphasizing the joyous nature of Jewish life.

These urban steet festivals and gatherings—whether for the Jewish New Year, Passover, or Chanukah—give people of all ages easy access to Jewish customs and traditions by presenting key ingredients of each Jewish holiday in unconventional formats that are open to all. They are part of JDC's YOK initiative (playing on the Spanish "Yo OK," meaning "I'm OK"), which gives wide audiences in Argentina access to Judaism "without walls" and enourages them to engage with Jewish culture in a way that resonates with them personally. A communitywide effort for Chanukah, for example, offered over 20 different events in alternative venues that included restaurants, book stores, theaters, jazz clubs, and record shops.

This year’s Urban Rosh Hashanah included a tent with graphic humor and cartoon workshops, a space for stand-up comics, and special comedy activities for kids. Live music performances were offset by a discussion area for those eager for a more intensive exploration into Jewish culture. And since no Jewish festival would be complete without food, traditional holiday fare was in abundance to fuel the singing, dancing, and laughter that echoed throughout the streets.

Learn more about JDC's work in Argentina here.

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