ELYRIA — More than 200 people attended the 30th annual Bagel Brunch on Sunday at Temple B’nai Abraham in Elyria for some community engagement two days before Election Day.
About 45 volunteers served Bialy’s bagels brought in fresh from Cleveland, lox and homemade noodle kugel, scrambled eggs and a wide assortment of desserts.
Because the brunch is close to final votes being cast, candidates often pop in to pitch their candidacies to residents.
Incumbent Lorain County Commissioner Democrat Matt Lundy, Ohio Attorney General candidate Democrat Steve Dettelbach, and state Rep. Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and his mother, state Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, came to chat with residents and hand out campaign flyers.
“It’s nice not only the fact that (candidates) come in, but it’s also wonderful because they come and talk to people one on one and they promote whatever their ideas are,” event chairwoman Priscilla Goldstein said.
While the brunch welcomes the candidates, fostering ties with the community is the most important thing.
“It is one of our fundraisers for the year, but it’s also a chance for people who wouldn’t be in the synagogue otherwise,” said Rabbi Lauren Werber. “We have a chance to show the symbols of our tradition, they can come into the synagogue and feel comfortable, and we can feel we’re part of the greater community.”
The brunch held special meaning this year, coming only about a week after a gunman’s attack at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue that killed 11 people.
The temple had welcomed the public and members of other churches Friday night to remember and pray for victims. Werber said she received more condolences and gifts at the brunch Sunday.
“People who just really want to be there and let us know that we live in a different world than the shootings would suggest,” she said.
Jerry Banchek, 68, of North Olmsted, said he came to the brunch for the first time after learning about it through an email.
“(I came here ) to be among other people,” he said. “People that care about what’s going on in society.”