This article appeared in the Sept. 15, 2006 Jewish Advocate.


Shaloh House of Stoughton hosts gala family Labor Day fest

By Susie Davidson

Advocate Correspondent


It was blue and white at the base of the Great Blue Hill on Labor Day at the 4th Greater Boston Family Day and Jewish Music Festival at Prowse Farm in Canton. The lively fest, organized by Shaloh House Chabad of Stoughton following a two-year hiatus, included local musicians, children’s performances, arts and crafts, rides, Kosher concession stands, vendors, non-profit agency tables, and the Irving and Mamie Albert children’s library.


Stoughton Journal columnist Mark Snyder of MC’d the event, which was presented by WBOS 92.9 FM.


“We are a very family-friendly radio station that plays all kinds of music,” said WBOS Account Executive Charles Dannison. “We’re not a station that would embarrass parents in front of their children, so we felt we were a perfect fit.” Dannison, whose wife is Jewish, belongs to Congregation Share Shalom in Hingham and sits on the Board of the CJP Young Leadership Position. He and Rabbi Mendel Gurkow of Shaloh House found each other through Sound Communications, a WBOS advertising agency partner.


“A woman told me, ‘Even though we all look and act differently, these are my people,’” said Chava Vorst, Shaloh kindergarten teacher and a member of the Music Festival Committee. “I felt like we had reached a goal.” Volunteer Marlene Epstein was impressed by the universality of the musical acts. “They were all different, yet the crowd sang and danced to all of them,” she said.


Barry Cooperstein, President of Shaloh House, also stressed inclusiveness. “We decided to host this extravaganza again because there is a desire in the Jewish community to come together where all are welcome to have fun, listen to music and spend time with their families,” he said.


"It was a very uplifting day filled with people from all levels of Judaism, who came with beach chairs and blankets and enjoyed the music,” said Gurkow. Entertainers included Shirav (Rabbis David Paskin and Menachem Creditor), the Grabb Brothers, Dan Gil, Fishel Bresler and his Chasidic Trio, children’s musician Wayne Potash and magician Steve Brenner.


Vorst saw men put on Tefilin at the Cultural Booth for the first time, while women received Shabbat Candles with brochures. At another booth, people asked questions about anything Jewish. Vorst, also the crafts coordinator, observed kids making paddle games, sand art necklaces, velvet art posters and sun visors.


“We are a very modest and humble organization, but we do have a big heart, with a drive for Jewish outreach and Jewish continuity,” said Gurkow. “If you are sincere, people will draw closer and gravitate to this mission and accomplish unbelievable things," he said.

Dannison said it was he who was humbled. “We would absolutely be honored to join anything that Rabbi Gurkow is involved with in the future,” he said.


“Bringing Jewish people together for a fun day was a goal which I believe we, thank G-d, achieved.,” said Vorst.



Rabbi Mendel Gurkow
Shaloh House Chabad of the South Area
781 344-6334

I was with the Cultural Booth where men put on Tefilin, some for the first time in their life, and women received Shabbat Candles with informational brochures. We also had Shaloh House information and pictures around. Most of the time is spend in that booth, and that's how i talked to a lot of people. Right next to me was the craft area so i kept an eye on them, since i was the craft coordinator. Looks like all the kids had a great time making their paddle games, sand art necklaces, Velvet art posters and Sun vizors.

There were people that i talked too who had never light shabbat candles and wqerereally interested in doing so. One lady told me that her grandmother did it, and she never even thought of doing it herself.

It was also a booth were people came over just to ask questions about anything Jewish, or things that have to do with G-d. I was glad that we were there and they felt comfortable asking.

Towards the end i spoke with a vendor/friend who told me she was very happy- it was a great location and she did well.

Epstein, Marlene"

It was an event that everyone had fun at. The entertainment for adults was great and had everyone singing and smiling and the children were so excited by the wonderful interactive performances by Wayne Potash and Stephen Brenner. I met people I

I do not have any children so I am unable to answer those questions. I think the festivals have all been wonderful, I have participated in all of them. I was there from early morning to evening. I believe all the entertainment was great so I would be unable to name one over another as being superior. They were all different yet the crowd responded positively to all of them, singing and smiling and the children dancing. The festival ended with the Grabb Brothers Jewish Rock Band which had people singing to familiar tunes from Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) and Santana with Jewish verses created by the Grabb Brothers.


The greater Boston Family Day & Jewish Music Festival was definitely a great success. It was nice to see everyone just looking happy, and enjoying themselves. “The best comment, which made me feel like we reached a goal,” said Chava Vorst, Shaloh kindergarten teacher and a member of the Music Festival Committee, “was when a woman told me, ‘I feel at home here. Even though we all look different, and act different, these are my people.’”

Dannison said it was he who was humbled. “We at BOS absolutely would be honored to do anything that Rabbi Gurkow is involved with,” he said.

“Bringing Jewish people together for a fun day was a goal which, thank G-d, we achieved,” said Vorst.