Big Nosh is coming: Bring your appetite and interest
FoodRaising dough with chopped liver

Big Nosh is coming: Bring your appetite and interest

Jewish food festival will support Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle

Hummus. (Photo by Arx0nt via iStock)
Hummus. (Photo by Arx0nt via iStock)

Tell your bubbe — there will be babka.

A three-day celebration of Jewish and Israeli food and culture is coming to Pittsburgh. Big Nosh, a fundraiser supporting the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom April 7-9.

Event planners hope to attract a broad range of community members, as do Pittsburgh’s Greek food festivals, Little Italy Days and Friday fish fries during Lent, Chronicle Board Chair Evan H. Stein said.

“I’ve got two young kids, and we go to all these other festivals, and it’s been eating at me — no pun intended — that we don’t have a secular on-ramp for people who aren’t Jewish to try Jewish food,” he said.

Along with the “value proposition” of hosting a food festival in Pittsburgh, it’s great when nonprofits offer fun philanthropic activities, noted Stein, who pointed to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh’s Big Night and Hilllel JUC’s Campus Superstar.

“We need an annual fundraiser,” he said.

Stein began volunteering with the Chronicle about three years ago and served as board treasurer before assuming the role of chair.

After joining the board, he learned the weekly publication had stopped charging for print subscriptions in 2017.

“We went the sort of public radio model where you pay what you will,” Stein said.

Recognizing a need to “stoke engagement,” he noted the absence of any annual fundraising event and quickly began working on a Jewish food festival to support Pittsburgh’s Jewish newspaper.

“It’s such a perfect pairing,” Stein said of Big Nosh and the Chronicle. “A Jewish food festival isn’t religious, but it still celebrates Judaism — that’s what the Chronicle is. The Chronicle isn’t religious. It’s not political. It doesn’t lean to the right or the left. It’s not red or blue. It’s just our community. And that’s what the Jewish food festival presumes to be.”

Falafel. (Photo by uniqueton via iStock)

Stein has spent years preparing for the program; and though weeks remain until Big Nosh begins, he already can taste its greatness, he said.

When people walk into Beth Shalom’s ballroom there will be food, Judaica for purchase and information regarding Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

On the right side of the room will be falafel, shawarma, sabich and bourkekas to buy, and on the left side will be a la carte selections. Food will be cooked by Chef Judah Cowen of Elegant Edge Catering and certified kosher by the Vaad Harabonim of Pittsburgh. Additionally, event organizers are working with Square Cafe to ensure wine and beer will be available for purchase, Stein said.

The event’s timing is a boon for many community members.

“A lot of people are already going to be in Passover mode in their mind,” Stein said. As opposed to cooking dinner and creating a mess, Big Nosh is a chance to come and enjoy delicious food “for three days,” he said.

The event lasts from 3-8 p.m. Sunday to Tuesday. Between 4-7 p.m. Cantor Henry Shapiro of Klezmerati will be performing live music, Stein added.

It’s the event’s first year, but excitement is already apparent. To date, Big Nosh has received the backing of several organizations and corporations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Green Light Wireless, FSA Consulting, Next Pittsburgh, PJ Dick, Jewish National Fund and Visit Pittsburgh.

Stein, who also serves as founder and managing partner of FSA Consulting, praised the groups and numerous individuals who’ve championed the cause: “We’re thrilled with the support that we’ve gotten from the community.”

After dedicating countless hours to Big Nosh, he hopes people come to the event, support the Chronicle and learn more about Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

He’s also looking for volunteers.

“It’s going to take an army of 100 people, 100 volunteers from the community, to make this happen,” he said. “Anybody who wants to volunteer can sign up at”

Stein doesn’t care whether eventgoers are compelled by their appetites or interest: He wants to see as many people there as possible.

“If your understanding of Jewish food is lox and bagels on a Sunday morning, come and try some gefilte fish. Maybe you’ll like it,” he said. “If you’ve never tried chopped liver, try some chopped liver. Try something new. Come check us out. See the beautiful artwork on display.

Interact with the Jewish Chronicle information booth. Maybe make a donation. Try some food. Meet some new people and just have some fun.”

Big Nosh runs April 7-9 from 3-8 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom, 5915 Beacon St.. Information is available at PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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