smiling, "Have a sweet new year!"
I lose the younger children instantly to the panoply of bouncy houses, face painting, and clowns making balloon animals. When they reemerge, we move around the different craft tables, decorating a honey-cup plate with paper die cuts of the Torah and Star of David, frosting bee- and apple-shaped cookies, filling a tube with colored sugar. Eight-year-old Niu Niu braids a miniature challah to bake once she gets home. Four-year-old Little Brother watches with rapt fascination the rabbi with the power sander and drill making shofars out of real rams' horns. Several burly bearded men show off how loudly they can trumpet. Then the rabbi hands Little Brother a shofar of his own to try, and Little Brother is proud of the wobbly squeak he manages.
The older children browse the information booths from all the different Jewish college and community groups and pick up their share of imprinted Frisbees, pens, color-changing plastic beer mugs, and too many free samples of kosher cakes and pastries. They finger the Judaica jewelry for sale, and I browse through the Jewish children's picture books. I am impressed by the range of people helping today--from high school and college students to older aunts and uncles. All corners of the community are here.