All year round we follow the news from Israel – supporting, criticizing, worrying, discussing, debating and praying. On Sunday, though, we will be celebrating.
June 5 is a day set aside for setting aside our differences and joining together to express our recognition of and appreciation for the first Jewish state in the land of the Bible since ancient times.
The annual Celebrate Israel Parade, with more than 250 organizations set to march up Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street, is the centerpiece of the festivities. Starting at noon, rain or shine, school children, youth groups, dignitaries, rollerbladers, motorcyclists, dancers and clowns will be there, along with 11 marching bands, including the Saint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, the Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps, and the Upper Schuylkill Marching Band. (Perhaps someday, after the Messiah arrives, we’ll have a Jewish marching band as well.)
Fortunately, at least for the moment, there have been no major controversies surrounding who is and isn’t allowed to march this year. And we note the hard work of the Jewish Community Relations Council in bringing us together.
A Jewish Unity festival will take place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Terminal Five, 610 W. 56th Street, featuring Israeli food, live entertainment and music, arts and activities for kids and adults. More than 5,000 people are expected at the event, sponsored by UJA-Federation and hosted by the Israeli American Council.
All of this will take place on International Jewish Unity Day, sponsored by UJA-Federation and Gesher, an organization seeking to bridge the religious-secular and other divides in Israel. The special day was created in memory of the three Israeli teenage boys who were kidnapped and killed in 2014. Four of the parents of the teens will be attending events here throughout the area.
We encourage all of our readers to take part in these programs designed to give voice to our commitment to and concern for the world’s only Jewish state.