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Kosher Food Truck, Kids’ Events Highlight Chol Hamoed in Philly

Story time in the sukkah is just one of the many activities during Chol Hamoed at the Please Touch Museum.

Looking for a great place to visit over Chol Hamoed that’s not too far, will provide entertainment options for young and old, encourages fun and education, and has a sukkah for use and kosher food? Then you might want to consider Center City, Philadelphia and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

Yes, Center City, home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Betsy Ross’s House, will tick all the boxes for kosher consumers this year as The Brazilian BBQ, a glatt kosher restaurant located in Northeast Philadelphia, will debut a food truck at a local synagogue during the intermediate days of Sukkot.

“We often do events at Congregation Mikveh Israel,” said The Brazilian BBQ owner Jeff Lonstein, and this is an outgrowth of that. “This will be a permanent food truck that will be based at Mikveh Israel and will launch, officially, in about two months, but we will have it for Chol Hamoed.”

The Brazilian BBQ food truck will be open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Chol Hamoed, and will be housed at Congregation Mikveh Israel, 44 North 4th Street. A large sukkah will be on the premises ensuring not only good food, but a place to eat it as well.

Explore the history of ships and the U.S. Navy at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Among the food items that will be available are: pulled barbecue sandwiches, homemade chicken nuggets (including a gluten-free option), burgers, French fries, onion rings and a chicken Caesar salad that can be made vegetarian.

While you are at Mikveh Israel, stop in and take a tour of the synagogue itself. Dating back to the 1740s, before the United States of America was even established, Mikveh Israel is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the country. Though it has moved several times since then, the Sephardi synagogue moved to Independence Mall in 1976. Tours of the building and information about its history are available. However, you may want to call ahead to ensure they are open when you are there.

The Please Touch Museum, located in the city’s Fairmount Park section, will hold its annual Sukkot-themed activities for youngsters on Thursday, October 5. Children will be able to choose from a variety of activities such as building a mini sukkah, creating leaves out of recycled materials, and listening to story time in a large sukkah, where families attending the festivities can eat as well. The kid-centric museum has held Sukkot programs on Chol Hamoed since 2017, and is best for children up to age 8. https://www.pleasetouchmuseum.org

Here are other suggestions for things to see and do in and around Philadelphia:

Independence Seaport Museum: Located near Penn’s Landing and the Delaware River waterfront, this museum will appeal to those who love ships, history and boating. Learn about the founding of the U.S. Navy, explore the Cruiser Olympia (from 1898!), enjoy an interactive exploration of the Delaware River and more. For an additional fee, take a tour of the Submarine Becuna. https://www.phillyseaport.org/

Franklin Square Park—Located just to the north of Independence Park, Franklin Square Park was one of the city’s first green spaces and has a carousel ride and mini golf course for families and couples to enjoy. Both attractions have separate fees. https://historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square/

Philadelphia Zoo—With more than 1,700 animals, there is plenty to see at the zoo as you wander from Penguin Point to Raptor Ridge. Take in a show at the McNeil Rainforest Walkthrough and Migration Theater or stop at KidZooU where you’ll find goats, sheep and more. And don’t forget to visit the museum’s newest residents, including sloth bear cubs and two puma siblings. There are numerous add-on activities that require additional purchases including a train ride, giraffe encounter, ropes course and carousel ride. https://www.philadelphiazoo.org/

Camden Aquarium—What could be cuter than little blue penguins? Maybe seeing them and getting a free ticket for your preschooler, children between 2 and 5, as part of the Camden Aquarium’s free Pre-K Kid’s Adventure Pass! In addition to the myriad underwater life and animals on display, the museum is in the midst of its Fintastic Fall Days, with special seasonal activities. Just FYI, the Adventure Pass must be ordered in advance, and like the other attractions, add-ons will cost additional fees. https://www.adventureaquarium.com/

Homemade chicken nuggets will be on the menu at The Brazilian BBQ food truck in Center City Philadelphia during Chol Hamoed.

Food:

There are several options for dining during a visit to Philadelphia and its suburbs, each of the following locales will be open during Chol Hamoed, and either has or is near a sukkah that visitors can use for dining.

In or near Center City:

The Brazilian BBQ Food Truck at Mikveh Israel (see story)

Zaydee’s Restaurant inside the Hillel at Temple University: 1441 West Norris St. Falk at the Penn Hillel: 215 South 39th St.

Both are open to the public.

In or near Lower Merion:

Citron & Rose Tavern: 261 Montgomery Ave., Bala Cynwyd

Zagafen: 370 Montgomery Ave., Merion Station

Shalom Pizzeria: 7598 Haverford Ave., Overbrook Park, Philadelphia

In Northeast Philadelphia:

House of Kosher, Gourmet Market: 9806 Bustleton Ave.

Espresso Café & Sushi: 7814 Castor Ave.

The Brazilian BBQ—dinner only: 2422 Rhawn St.

In Cherry Hill, New Jersey:

Cherry Grill: 112 Barclay Farms Shopping Center

*Thanks to Rabbi Yonah Gross of the Keystone-K Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia and Carin Smilk for their help with this piece. You can reach the Keystone-K at 347-927-5742.

 

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