Pictured above are Mimi Weiner and Sid Lipton. They are the co-founders of "KlezFest" - an event celebrating klezmer music from eastern Europe. Back in 2001, Mimi & Sid approached me about getting involved with the event to help with getting underwriters, publicity & coordinating the logistics. After the initial two years in 2000 & 2001, they felt in order to grow the event someone was needed to be the Festival Organizer. I want to thank Mimi & Sid for putting the trust in me to be that person! For over 13 years we were able to create a special wondrous event...The Jewish Music & Cultural Festival!


Both Mimi & Sid along with our committee were open to many of the ideas I brought to the festival, which are now mainstays - changing the name from "KlezFest" to "Jewish Music & Cultural Festival of Central New York"...Jewish Community Synagogues & Organizations Tents...Children's Activities Tent...Jewish arts & crafts village...Shofar blowing... largest CNY Hora dance...Rabbi's Corner...expanding the Kosher food menu...more variety for Jewish music besides Klezmer.


To help the festival, my relationships with the business community and media along with Jewish synagogues, organizations and community made the "Jewish Music & Cultural Festival" into a well-established community event. There are many people, companies, synagogues and organizations that I want to thank. The list will be below...


There are also many highlights over the 2002, moving the festival to Clinton 2003, Jewish Community tent & Children Activities tent added...over 4,000 people attending in 2004 to see Simply Tsfat from 2005, featuring Jewish rock with Rick Recht and a display celebrating 350 years of 2006, Jewish Jazz with Theresa Tova & 100 degree temperature in Clinton 2007, Parparim Ensemble from New York City presented a Celebration of Israel in dance and 2008, special "Israel@60" service along with celebrating Bar & Bat Mitzvahs also with Dads, plus the return of SIMPLY 2009, moving the festival to the Jewish Community Center with headliner Susan Watts, Elaine Hoffman Watts & the Fabulous 2010, CNY largest Hora Dance added with shofar blowers along with SIORA & Jewish 2011, the Rabbi's Corner is a new addition and ATZILUT is the 2012, THE AFRO-SEMITIC EXPERIENCE with Syracuse Chapter of the Gospel Workshop of America; the Klezmer Kabaret Puppet Theater and Kosher Beer 2013, the theme for the festival was "Tradition" with honoring synagogues and organizations that are pillars in the Jewish community along with the international group The Guy Mendilow Ensemble.


Through the years we have had good people on our committee and others volunteering in turn doing a Mitzvah for the Jewish Community. This truly became an event that brought the Jewish community together and an outreach to the community at large to share Jewish music and cultural!


Early in 2014, I decided to step back from the festival. Even though I'm not involved now, I do wish the best to Mimi, Sid & the festival.


The greatest memory I will have of the Jewish Music & Cultural Festival are the thousands of people that came - schmoozing, dancing, listening, kids playing, eating and all the smiles on the faces of the people that attended!


TODA RABA! (Thank you very much!)


Steve Becker

Festival Organizer

Jewish Music & Cultural Festival of Central New York

September 2001-Feburary 2014




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This is a list of  rabbis, synagogues, organizations, companies and people that I want to thank!!!


Rabbi Shore - Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse, Rabbi Sherman - Temple Adath Yeshurun, Rabbi Pepperstone & Rabbi Ain - Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, Rabbi Fellman & Rabbi Ezring - Temple Concert, Rabbi Rapoport - Chabad-Lubavitch of Central New York, Congregation Ner-Tamid and Temple Beth-El.


State Senator John DeFrancisco, Jewish Federation of Central New York, Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, City of Syracuse, CNY Arts (Cultural Resource Council), Pomeranz Trust, Neulander Family, Paul B. & Georgina H. Roth Charitable Foundation, Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Committee.


Price Chopper, Raymour & Flanigan, Birnbaum Funeral Service, Time Warner Cable, Natur-Tyme, Sisskind Funeral Service, Menorah Park, East Syracuse Chevrolet, Manlius Art Cinema, Engel Law Office, Carnegie Catering, Carvel, Wellcare, Bathfitter, Adecco, Coors Light, Onondaga Beverage, Integrated Marketing, TJ Sheehan, Seaboard Graphics.


Jewish Observer, Sunny 102 (Galaxy Communications), Syracuse New Times, WAER, Eagle Newspapers, The Post-Standard,, 570 WSYR, Table Hopping.


Mimi Weiner, Sid & Donna Lipton, Dan Ward, Shirley Rifkin, Francine Berg, Vicki Feldman, Rich Friedman, Linda Alexander, Marci Erlebacher, Judith Stander, Bette Siegel, Sis Zucker, Mark & Cheryl Wolfe, Steffi Bergman, Steven Sisskind, Ed Levine, "Big Mike" Fiss, Eric Cohen, Marty & Elaine Birnbaum, Joel Friedman, Wendy Meyerson, Al Lipsy, Leo Eisner, Art Zimmer, Bill Brod, David Tyler, Mark Fitzgerald, Mary Beth Roach, Bob Davidson, Steve Herwood, Jonathan & Aveeya Dinkin, Robert Lieberman, Ben Levy, Sam Young, Ora Jezer, Lori Newcomb, Faith VanVoolen, Bill LeFluer, Barbara Simon, Joan Bordett, Nancy Kasow, Mark Frank, Todd Engel, Bill Newman, Ilene Rein, Rosanne David, Pat Driscoll, Peter Frantzis, Debra & David Becker, Elihu Cohen, Marty Morganstein, Walter Kuncio, Sam Fuller.






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