The Chai Life: 18 things to do in spring 2019 in Greater Cleveland

Compiled by Kirby Davis

moCa Cleveland

moCa Cleveland | Jerry Birchfield for Field Studio

Join the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland on April 27 for its 50th Anniversary Gala & Art Auction, where attendees will enjoy food, drinks, music, dancing (and art, of course) while the museum celebrates five decades of serving as Northeast Ohio’s only contemporary art museum.

Holocaust Memorial in Lorain

This year’s program, which takes place May 1 at the Lorain Palace Theater, will feature a screening of “Be the Hero,” a film and narration about Holocaust survivor Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, who saved 200 Jewish soldiers during World War II.

Yom HaShoah, Yom Ha’atzmaut in Akron

Hear testimony from Holocaust survivors and attend a memorial service and candle-lighting ceremony during the May 2 Yom HaShoah Commemoration. Akron’s shaliach, Mor Roffe, will lead the traditional one-minute blast of the siren. During the Yom Ha’atzmaut Israel Festival on May 5, celebrate Israel’s 71st birthday after a memorial service to honor fallen Israeli soldiers. Both events will take place at the Schultz Campus for Jewish Life in Akron. 

‘Home Run 5K Run/Walk’

In this May 2018 photo, Runners young and old take off from the starting line on May 6 during The Montefiore Foundation’s fourth annual Home Run 5K Run/Walk & 1 Mile Walk at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike. | Alyssa Schmitt / Cleveland Jewish News

Run, walk or jog to benefit Montefiore and The Weils during the Montefiore Foundation’s fifth annual Home Run 5K Run/Walk & 1M Walk on May 5 at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike. Last year, about 400 people participated in the event, proceeds from which benefit residents of Montefiore and The Weils and their families. The Cleveland Jewish News is a sponsor of the run.

‘Entrées & Insights’

Regardless of whether you’re affiliated with Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood, you can join members at fundraising dinners revolving around the theme “Celebration of the Arts” on May 5, June 2 and June 23, when, respectively, guest speakers will be André Gremillet, Cleveland Orchestra president and CEO; Jeannette Sorrell, artistic director of Apollo’s Fire; and Dan Moulthrop, CEO of The City Club of Cleveland. 

Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration

Celebrate Israel’s 71st Independence Day at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s annual family-friendly festival on May 9. Headline performances will come from Capaim, an Israeli cover band that performs popular Jewish and Israeli hits, and Eran Biderman, a mentalist whose performances integrate the world of magic with that of telepathy. The event is free and open to the community and will again be held at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

NBA Draft Lottery

The Cavs are in rebuilding mode. Tune in to the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14 to find out whether they score the first overall pick, which over the years has brought them Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014). Wiggins and Bennett were later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love.

‘Double Dare LIVE!’

Double Dare Live | Akron Civic Theatre

The Akron Civic Theatre will host the self-proclaimed “messiest game show on TV” on May 16 when “Double Dare LIVE!” takes the stage. The live show is scheduled to feature everything that made the original Nickelodeon game show a hit with children of the 1980s, including trivia, physical challenges, and original host Marc Summers and his beloved sidekick Robin Russo.

‘Play at the J’

Mandel JCC

The Mandel Jewish Community Center’s Stonewall Auditorium will be transformed into a casino the night of May 19 for The J’s annual benefit, which will feature virtual-reality games, a silent auction and more.
Jerry and Iris Zahler will be honored at the event.

‘7th Annual Next Gen Trivia Night’

Test your knowledge of all things Cleveland and ORT during ORT America’s 7th Annual Next Gen Trivia Night on May 23 at the Winking Lizard Tavern Party Center in Bedford Heights. Attendees can also participate in a silent auction. The Cleveland Jewish News is a sponsor of this event.

‘Art in the Village’

Explore and shop for works from more than 100 artists during the 29th Annual Art in the Village with Craft Marketplace on June 1-2 at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. Whether you’re interested in paintings, jewelry, ceramics, photography or another medium, there’s something for almost everyone at this event, which also features a craft marketplace. 

‘Parade the Circle’

Revel in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s 30th annual Parade the Circle on June 8 in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. This year’s theme, “Mythology of Illusion,” will be represented in the form of costumes, floats and more.


Grab your tickets now to see Hozier and Sheryl Crow headline this year’s LaureLive on June 8-9 at Laurel School’s 140-acre Butler Campus in Russell and Chester townships. Other artists scheduled to perform during the two-day festival include Dirty Heads, Trombone Shorty, Moon Taxi, Lake Street Dive, MisterWives, AJR and many more.

‘Dear Evan Hansen’

The winner of six Tony Awards in 2017, including for Best Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” will take the stage June 11-30 at the Connor Palace in downtown Cleveland as part of Playhouse Square’s KeyBank Broadway Series. The modern tale about a teenage outcast has been a hit since premiering in 2015 and also won the 2018 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. 

Summer Soirée

Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Save the date for the 11th annual Summer Soirée, a bash thrown each year by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Young Leadership Division and JCLE. This year’s soirée is scheduled for June 20. Stay tuned for additional party details, including its location.

Cleveland Museum of Art’s Solstice

David Brichford / Cleveland Museum of ARt

Usher in summer by attending the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Solstice, an annual bash that this year will take place on June 22 and again feature art, music, food and more.

Park Synagogue’s 150th anniversary

Join Park Synagogue in commemorating its 150th anniversary celebration on June 23 by attending “An Evening of Celebration Featuring a Taste of Park Chefs,” which the Pepper Pike shul considers the “crowning event” of its yearlong celebration.

Tri-C JazzFest

Black Valve Media / Tri-C JazzFest

The Tri-C JazzFest is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The festival, which takes place June 27-29 in Playhouse Square, will feature an indoor lineup consisting of artists such as Tower of Power, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones and Jamey Haddad’s Under One Sun. Outdoor events will include performances by local and regional bands, street performers, family-friendly entertainment and more.

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