University hosts Sababa Jewish festival
Youngsters hold onto balloons at the Sababa fair entrance | Photo Editor Holden Hindes
Washington University hosted The Sababa Festival, an exhibition of Jewish arts and culture, on Sept. 18.
The festival, which was last hosted 3 years ago at the University, was held in the Simon parking lot and featured artists, vendors, cultural foods, and musical performances that celebrated Jewish life.
Sababa Program Coordinator Judy Kramer explained that the University is an ideal venue for the festival.
“We wanted a place that was very highly respected in the community and that we felt was located where we could draw in students and people from the community that were both not Jewish, as well as Jewish people,” Kramer said. “And this sort of is the epicenter of the St. Louis community, students and non Jewish community as well.”
Kramer said the festival was set up to be multicultural. Food trucks that ranged from Jewish food to Asian food, and traditional American festival fare like hotdogs, were present at the celebration.
Lauren Abraham, Director of the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council student to student program, said that the festival’s multicultural experience fits the University well.
“A festival like this really goes hand in hand with the WashU community,” Abraham said. “They can see the vibrancy of the St. Louis Jewish community and understand that we don’t only go to synagogues and pray. We don’t only include a kosher restaurant, we include all different ideas and cultures, while also advocating for Jewish values like blowing the shofar.”
Abraham said college students should try to interact with different cultures and worldviews as much as possible, and that the Sababa Festival specifically is helpful in connecting the broader St. Louis Jewish community with the WashU Jewish community.
“There are bicycles and college students that are out on their Sunday and they turn around and they see this,” Abraham said. “They really get a clear picture of the Jewish community at WashU and in St. Louis. It takes them out of their bubble.”
Freshman Anya Coughlin said the event was a rewarding experience.
“I came from a very white Christian town, so this has been a good experience for me personally to meet so many people from different cultures,” Coughlin said.
She added that the festival motivated her to look into more St. Louis cultural activities.
Kramer said Sababa started after the Jewish Federation of St. Louis received a large donation from a family that requested that the Jewish community get together every couple years and convene in celebration.
“The purpose of this donation was to show our community and the community at large what Jewish people are adding to this community,” Kramer said.