2,000 Celebrate Israel’s 74th Birthday In Person
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COURTNEY BYRNES | STAFF REPORTER
Jewish Cleveland celebrated Israel’s 74th independence day May 5 with a Yom Ha'atzmaut festival full of music and activities outside The Temple-Tifereth Israel and Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, both in Beachwood.
The celebration made a full return to in person after two years of virtual and hybrid models during the pandemic and welcomed nearly 2,000 guests to join in the fun. The event was organized by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s overseas department and Ilanit Gerblich Kalir, assistant vice president of external affairs/international operations. The co-chairs were Zach and Shelby Siegal and Adam and Shelley Gimbel.
The evening was highlighted by a performance from IsraBand, an Israeli band performing Israel’s top hits in Hebrew, as well as flag dances by Gross Schechter Day School, the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School fifth graders and Fuchs Mizrachi high school students. “20,284 soldiers, security forces and civilians have died defending the security of our homeland and simply living their lives in Israel as Jews and non-Jews ... With their death, they gave us life,” Yael Herooty said in the closing remarks.
The community shinshinim and shlichim sang “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem, and brought the Israeli spirit as they danced the whole evening in front of the stage. Children enjoyed the various booths as they created their own Israeli spirit wear, made sand art, got glitter art and airbrush tattoos, climbed an inflatable Mount Masada and played carnival games.
There was food for purchase from Kantina, a shuk from The Temple’s gift shop selling Israeli goods, a bar and a Young Leadership Division tent for young adults. The evening also included a raffle.
The Cleveland Jewish News was a media sponsor of the event.