The Shmooze

Chicago Festival Conflicts With High Holidays, Again

By Michael Kaminer

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Oaktoberfest, an annual fall festival in Chicago’s western Oak Park neighborhood, boasts seasonal food from local restaurants, specialty micro-brews and great wines.

But local Jews are forbidden from partaking — according to the calendar, at least. For the second year, organizing body Downtown Oak Park has scheduled Oaktoberfest on the High Holidays. And while last year’s fiesta fell on Rosh Hashanah, this year’s edition is adding insult to injury by taking place on the Day of Atonement.

Pat Zubak, Downtown Oak Park’s executive director, told the Chicago Tribune the scheduling was not intentional or personal. “We asked for the calendar to avoid having it fall on Rosh Hashana again, but it inadvertently fell on Yom Kippur,” Zubak said.

Oak Park’s Jewish residents are having none of it; Zubak’s we-forgot-to-check-the-calendar excuse found no takers. “It’s just embarrassing that in Oak Park, it needs to be constantly brought up,” resident Annabel Abraham told the paper. “They need to make sure we are respectful to all of our faiths,” said former village clerk Sandra Sokol.

“Everyone is encouraged to ride their bike to this event to reduce traffic, save gas and build up a hearty appetite,” the event’s official press release states. Well, almost everyone.

Zubak did not return the Forward’s request for comment.


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