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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 12, 2016  RSS feed

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Sephardic food and music fest set for March 6

Alan Rophie of Palm Harbor playing the oud at a Bobo family Thanksgiving. At far left, Eli Bobo, for whom the Sephardic festival is dedidicated. Alan Rophie of Palm Harbor playing the oud at a Bobo family Thanksgiving. At far left, Eli Bobo, for whom the Sephardic festival is dedidicated. The Eli Bobo Sephardic Food and Music Festival, an event aimed at broadening appreciation for Sephardic cuisine and music, will he held on Sunday, March 6 at Congregation Rodeph Sholom.

The festival is named in memory of Eli Bobo, a man whose legacy includes a deep love of Sephardic music, culture, and the Jewish religion. It kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at the synagogue, 2713 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, with mezza (hors d’oeuvres) and cocktails.

In addition to Middle Eastern staples such as hummus, pita bread, falafel, baba ganoush and tabouli, the menu will showcase unique dishes such as bazergan (cracked wheat salad), foul (fava bean) salad, sambousek (cheese-filled pastries), and zaatar bread (mixture of sumac, sesame and herbs), as well as Sephardic desserts. Many of the dishes will be made from recipes passed down through the generations of the Bobo family, which is of Syrian descent.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a live band, the Rodeph Sholom choir, and a special guest, Eli Bobo’s nephew Alan Rophie, playing the oud, a Middle Eastern string instrument. Rophie is a Palm Harbor optometrist.

Cantors participating in the concert include Cantor Andres Kornworcel of Rodeph Sholom, Cantor Jonathan Schultz of Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Cantorial Leader Joy Katzen-Guthrie of Congregation Beth Am in Tampa, and Cantor Emeritus Rick Berlin of the Parkway Jewish Center in Pittsburgh, among other local talents.

“After family and his business, Eli’s two biggest passions were Sephardic food and music,” says Chella Bobo of her late husband. “Some of our greatest memories are sitting around listening to our brother-in-law Abdo Rophie play the oud and singing Sephardic tunes; Eli would be deeply honored to see his family carrying on these traditions in his name.”

Sponsored by the Bobo family, the festival is free and open to the public. RSVP at or call (813) 837-1911.

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