Why throw a Tu B'Av Jewish Festival of Love? For one thing, American Jews dont know much about it. Its primarily an Israeli version of Valentines Day in modern times though in ancient times, white-robed unmarried women were said to dance in the vineyards outside Jerusalem, with young men hoping to find brides in tow. Not likely in this day and age.
But Rabbi Brian Field of Judaism Your Way saw it as a way of attracting his target audience secular Jews not affiliated with a synagogue into the fold, using the sweet, luring theme of love and relationships. Last years inaugural fest drew more than 300 people, so he must have been on to something. This year, were building it up to be bigger and better, says spokesman Saul Rosenthal. It has all the key elements of any summer festival, but with a few more interesting twists. For instance, any couple who wants to renew their vows under the chuppah [wedding canopy] can do that. And in keeping with Tu BAvs seasonal correspondence with the grape harvest, there will be wine tasting for the grownups and...grape stomping for the kids. There are not a lot of grape-stomping opportunities in Denver, Rosenthal notes. Theyll get physically involved with the grape experience.
A love song sing-along, Jewish food, live music (including a set by Rosenthals own Rocky Mountain Jewgrass), folk dancing and relationship workshops round out the festival, which goes from 1 to 6 p.m. in the gardens at the Phipps Tennis Pavilion, 3400 Belcaro Drive. Admission is free; for more information, log on to www.judaismyourway.org or call 303-320-6185.
Sun., Aug. 2, 1-6 p.m., 2009