Where else but in the Lower East Side can you find a festival celebrating Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican cultures all at the same time? This past Sunday, the Museum at Eldridge Street hosted its annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas Festival, a “mash-up of Jewish, Chinese and Puerto Rican tastes, traditions, sights and sounds.”
Upon first walking into this multi-cultural block party, your hunger could easily be satisfied with, as the title implies, an egg roll, an egg cream, and an empanada – all three for only $6.
After devouring these scrumptious treats, attendees were invited to partake in festivities on the rest of the block, including a bomba and plena performance, mah jongg, and a decorate-your-own yarmulke table, just to name a few. Inside the museum, which is housed in one of New York City’s original synagogues, festival-goers found even more fun. A few of the highlights of the indoor activities included a Chinese calligraphy demonstration, challah braiding, and a lecture about the history of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. All in all, the Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas festival comprehensively brought together three different cultures that are not usually found in such close proximity.
Not only does this event bring together Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican cultures, it blends them. Signs of multiculturalism are evident anywhere you look, such as a young Asian girl wearing a yarmulke, or a young Jewish man being taught how to play mah jongg by an elderly Chinese woman. The name of this festival, Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, & Empanadas, is symbolic – food is cross-cultural and everybody eats! Food brings people together, no matter your age, race, or cultural background. In our current political climate, this multi-cultural celebration is exactly what this city and its people need.