Events Connect Chester County Community This Summer

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The Kehillah of Chester County offers a variety of opportunities for Jews in Chester County to make connections and become more engaged in the vibrant Jewish life of the county and activities offered by its eight congregations. Two are coming up this summer.

The Jewish community of Chester County is diverse — in age, affiliation and level of Jewish observance — and geographically spread out. Many of its members are relative newcomers to the area. The Kehillah of Chester County — a collaboration among the Jewish congregations and organizations of Chester County, funded by a Neighborhood Initiatives Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia — offers a variety of opportunities for Jews in Chester County to make connections and become more engaged in the vibrant Jewish life of the county and activities offered by its eight congregations. Two are coming up this summer.
Shalom 5K
On June 26, people from across Chester County and beyond, from serious runners to those just wanting a healthy outdoor activity, will gather at Wilson Farm Park in the Chesterbrook section of Wayne for the first-ever Kehillah of Chester County Shalom 5K.
“The Shalom 5K started organically in the community,” says Kehillah Director Shelley Rappaport, “in a conversation on Kesher Israel Congregation’s Facebook page about the possibility of a 5K for members of the congregation. As the conversation developed, a suggestion was made that the Kehillah take it on and expand it to the whole community.”
The course at Wilson Farm is certified by USA Track & Field (USATF). Kehillah Chair Dave Gold said: “We are looking forward to having a great many individuals and families participate. Although we will have chip-timing, which is important to serious runners, we encourage people at all fitness levels to come out and have fun.”
Register in advance at racemenu.com/shalom5k or on the day of the race beginning at 7:30 a.m.; the race starts at 9 a.m. Advance registration is $25 for adults, $15 for those under 18; same-day registration is $30 for adults, $20 for those under 18. For more information, visit jewishphilly.org/shalom5k.
Summer Shorts Film Festival
On eight consecutive Wednesday evenings in July and August, community members will gather for the third straight year at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville — recognizable to film buffs worldwide as the setting for the closing scene of The Blob — to enjoy short films and informal discussion of the themes they raise.
Seymour Levin, a member of Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County and a long-time member of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival committee, has been curating the festival since it began. For this year, he’s looked at more than 100 films and is choosing about 40. Many have won national and international awards and all contain Jewish themes and ideas. “I’m going for an eclectic selection,” Levin (himself a filmmaker) said: “current films and historic ones; films about Israel, Jewish culture, sports, family…anything and everything.” He added: “I love doing this; I believe it’s the only festival of short Jewish films,” and noted that as the festival’s reputation grows, more and more first-run films from all over the world are submitted for inclusion.
Rappaport said: “This is a way to bring Jewish programming and ideas to an audience broader than synagogue members.” She also acknowledged the Colonial Theatre: “They’ve been an outstanding community partner, both in helping make the festival possible and in sponsoring the 5K.”
Summer Shorts runs every Wednesday from July 13 through Aug. 31, at 7:45 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St. in Phoenixville. For more information, please contact Shelley Rappaport at 484-582-0210 or [email protected]
For more information about the Kehillah of Chester County, visit jewishphilly.org/chester.

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