Should the City and Margate Business Association re-schedule it’s annual Fall Fest for 2020? This time around, the two-day event on Amherst Ave falls on a major Jewish Holy Day. Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is one of the Jewish High Holy Days, this year, taking place Fri, Sept 18 thru Sun, Sept 20, 2020.
Members of the Margate Jewish community not happy. Why did Margate City leaders and the local business chamber OK a major public event… over this particular weekend?
Here’s how one Margate Commissioner responded:
“I spoke to Ed Berger this morning the Pres. of the MBA. They were aware of the dates of both Yom Kippor and Rosh Hashanah and had only one choice to make based on the calendar. They felt of the 2 services that Yom Kippor was a high service while Rosh Hashanah is more festive.
They are aware that it will put less people on the street that will observe the service but there is only 2 weeks a year that the MBA can contract the vendors as they are already booked all thru August, Sept. and October. It was booked by the MBA the week after the dates of this past year. I know that this will not make some people happy but it happened based on the dates on the calendar. “
Ed Berger of Margate Business Association: a guest speaker at next Margate Homeowners Association meeting. Sat, Feb 15 at 11a., JCC on Jerome Ave in Margate.
Jay Weintraub from Margate Homeowners Association (MHA) strongly suggests the (Margate Business Association) calendar needs to be more closely reviewed by Margate residents. ‘Full-time, seasonal and visitors, are being ignored’ says MHA’s Weintraub in a social media post.
MHA appealing to Margate Commissioners to change the date. Sent the following e-mail to Margate Business Association: I am sure that the intention was to have a great event as always but the date chosen does offend and exclude many of our homeowners and visitors for this wonderful community event. I would strongly suggest that other dates be considered. Jay.
Via Social Media: Bonny Finkelstein Martin sent this email to MBA:
As I’m sure you are already aware, many in the Margate community are upset over the date of this wonderful event. Not only will a large portion of the area miss out on the event but it will greatly impact vendors who rely on the business generated by the weekend. I don’t believe this decision was made haphazardly but it is offending many. It is one of the two most religious holidays for Jewish people. Setting up a table to educate the public on the holiday is not a solution. This is a wonderful event for residents and restaurants alike. I would respectfully ask you to reconsider changing this date to the weekend before, or the first weekend in October.
From Margate Business Association:
We are aware that the date of the 2020 Fall Funfest overlaps with the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashana. After much discussion with our committee and members of the Jewish community, we decided to move forward with these dates as they are the only feasible option (the other option was Yom Kippur). We do understand how this may affect people’s decision to attend the event and or participate as a vendor, but we hope that all will understand that this wasn’t meant to offend. We will even be hosting a table to educate attendees on the holiday. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Bonny Finkelstein Martin on Social Media: Who they hell are they to tell a Jew which holiday to observe and which is more important to partake in? I’m disappointed in the businesses on the board including restaurant owners and realtors. They should know better. You and I both know this would NEVER happen on a non-Jewish holiday! Very sad excuse for a business association and ignorant not to reply directly to each person who took their time today to email the appropriate person we were told to.
Margate Business Association Board Of Directors
- President: Ed Berger, Mediagate
- Vice President: Karen Sherman, Tomatoe’s Restaurant
- Secretary: Randy Young, Heritage Surf And Sport
- Treasurer: Nancy Lynch, Ocean First
- Executive Director: Anna Maria Blescia
- Vendor Coordinator: Walter Korzeniewski
- Real Estate Services Representative: Paula Hartman
- Restaurant Representative: Christopher Gualtieri
- Trustee: Cookie Till
- Trustee: Joseph Berretone
- Trustee: Michael Collins, Colmar Home Center
- Trustee: Rev. Jim Rixon
- Trustee: Maria De Phillipo
Anne Litman Rubin via Social Media: As a taxpayer in Margate and a person of the Jewish faith I am asking you to reschedule the event. This is one of three of the holiest days for the Jewish people. The other holiday is Yom Kippur. Although that falls on the following weekend it does not start until sundown on Sunday September 27 which means that for most of the day on Sunday it would be available for people to attend. I know for a fact that an event of this type would never be scheduled on Easter or Christmas.
Official response from Margate Business Association:
For almost 20 years now, the Margate Business Association has taken on the enormous task of creating one of the highest class Fall Festivals anywhere on the East Coast. Those of you that have attended can attest that the Margate Fall Funfest by the Bay is a magnificent family event that over a good weather, 2-day weekend can bring between 12-17,000 people to enjoy our beautiful city, our people, and the programs we create for the weekend. This 2 day Festival is a colossal logistical undertaking that takes a year to plan, and literally has over a hundred moving parts; everything from crafters, bands, and food vendors, to almost a hundred individual outside contracts, Tri-State Festival publications, tens of thousands of promotional pieces and even proprietary security measures… it is, a herculean task.
Fall Funfest is scheduled for either the third or fourth weekend in September every year, with the deciding vote of which weekend being when the Jewish Holidays fall. This year, as in 2009, the Hebrew calendar and our calendar threw us the unfortunate reality of either running the event over Rosh Hashanah Weekend or the following weekend, which overlapped Yom Kippur, which begins Sunday at sundown. From a scheduling standpoint, essentially, a lose-lose situation.
Now as a result of the long history of our wonderful event, the crafters, vendors, food purveyors, amusement companies, and all of those that make Funfest a big part of what it is, plan their respective festival schedules accordingly and block out these two weekends until we announce our dates and then fill the other weekend. The option of moving Funfest to either before, or after these two weekends, was simply not an option unless we were willing to lose a significant number of these critical participants, perhaps permanently.
After polling a number of Board members and local friends, many of whom, like myself, celebrate the High Holy days, we came to the conclusion that if we had to hold Funfest over one of the two holidays, that Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish New Year and a very festive occasion, would be preferred over Yom Kippur, a truly solemn day and the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. Incidentally, we made the other choice in 2009, and ended Funfest several hours early on Erev Yom Kippur, the Sunday of Funfest weekend. As a result of Yom Kippur, the feedback was even saltier than what we are hearing from several people in our community today.
So I hope you now at least understand the difficult decision making process for this year’s event. Our Saturday evening Funfest After Dark is truly a festive event, a wonderful way to bring in the New Year with friends and family, I will be there with mine. If you cannot make this year’s Funfest, rest assured that we have made some difficult decisions to make sure that should you choose to come next year, the same high quality family event will be there to meet all your expectations.
Thanks for your concern and understanding.
Margate Business Association