Whether you're a gentile whose knowledge of Jewish faith and tradition comes from Fiddler on the Roof, Woody Allen films and television shows with Hebrew caricatures or you're a member of the Jewish community of St. Louis looking to celebrate your history and culture there's an event at COCA you should attend this weekend. Always a stronghold of performance and cultural diversity, the Center of Contemporary Arts is the home of St. Louis' inaugural Jewish Folk Festival. It's another great educational and cultural event hosted by Neve Shalom Congregation, with workshops and performances of music and folk traditions held through the weekend in the University City Loop. Over the years, Jewish tradition and culture have gathered flavor from the corners of the earth to where the faithful have spread, culminating in a faith of rich international diversity. Neve Shalom Congregation has worked hard to give the rest of us a taste of this history. On Saturday, the festival begins with an evening concert filled with the music and folk traditions of Eastern Europe. The klezmer band Between Two Worlds opens the show at 8:30 p.m., followed by the folk group Zambra, led by Neve Shalom Rabbi Jim Goodman. On Sunday, the day is filled with workshops and events for children and adults: Storytelling and beginning dance/movement will be available for youth; grownups can take classes on a variety of international styles of dance, song and percussion; and stories and history will be told through song and poetry, delivered by a variety of local performers and instructors, beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until around 5:30 p.m. From noon-1:30, a selection of "miniconcerts" will feature performances by Yosef Landa, Ed Fogel, Rick Recht and Rabbi Goodman, as well as traditional Russian music.
The Center of Contemporary Arts is located at 524 Trinity in University City. Tickets to the event are $10. Call 997-4593 for more info.