OVS Bazaar Again Flavors Festival Season
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OVS Bazaar Again Flavors Festival Season

The annual Chanukah event at Congregation Or VeShalom in Brookhaven never disappoints.

Leah R. Harrison

Leah Harrison is a reporter and copy editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Abby Friedman (right) showcases her handmade ceramics at the 2017 OVS Chanukah Bazaar.
Abby Friedman (right) showcases her handmade ceramics at the 2017 OVS Chanukah Bazaar.

The Congregation Or VeShalom sisterhood bazaar signals Chanukah is coming to Atlanta, and although the new Park Chase homes on the corner may have altered neighborhood, but for the snow cover over the synagogue entrance, the bazaar Sunday, Dec. 10, remained gloriously unaffected.

As comforting as your favorite pair of jeans, the annual Brookhaven event never disappoints.

The list of vendors for the 42nd annual bazaar was a mix of the old and new.

Lylia Giraldo and her fantastic hats are still missed more than eight years after her death, but OVS welcomed 12 new sellers this year to join such favorites as the used-book sale and premium liquor auction. There were menorahs and colorful scarves, hand-thrown ceramics and original paintings, jewelry of all kinds, and a collection of handmade, beaded serving pieces, key finders and more by Erin Bressler.

The used-book sale offers paperbacks for 50 cents, hardcovers for $1 or all the books you can stuff into a paper bag for $10.

An area was set aside for children’s games and crafts.

Then there’s the food.

“It’s all about the food,” said Angie Maslia Weiland, who has, husband Skip Weiland said, chaired the event the past three or four years.

Shopping among the vendors at the bazaar often takes place with a takeout box of burekas in hand.

The sale of baked goods represents a year-round effort of the OVS sisterhood and community. After the bazaar, the bakers will take a break for the rest of December, then begin again in the first week of January. “You should come and bake on Tuesdays,” Skip said. “If you bake, you get free lunch.”

Headlining the menu each year are the “world famous” burekas, in varieties such as potato, spinach, eggplant, rice and even mac and cheese — if you get there early enough. Despite a new rule this year limiting the number of burekas one person could buy by the dozen in the bake shop area, the cache of 11,000 burekas sold out by 2:30 p.m., 3½ hours into the bazaar and 2½ hours before its close.

Aside from pre-ordering burekas for 2018, the only option the rest of the afternoon was the hot food line, where burekas joined the famous spaghetti, salads and baked desserts available for eating in or taking home.

One vendor in the social hall, Jason Oransky, offers artwork aimed at music lovers.

The foot traffic remained constant and brisk throughout, even as closing time approached. “Some things never change,” Angie Weiland said. “People just look forward to it. It’s in our blood. This is just what we do. It’s just part of the OVS tradition.”

As I left with a clamshell container of warm burekas in hand, purchased just in the nick of time, the bazaar provided me with a parting gift: I wasn’t making dinner Sunday night.

Photos by Leah R. Harrison

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