April 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

40,000 Attend and Celebrate Israel Parade

Thousands of marchers and spectators braved the rain and security concerns to attend the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City on Sunday June 4. The parade focused on the theme of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and Jewish unity.

The marchers included diplomats from Israel, politicians from the United States Congress and Senate and New York State. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio attended along with members of Israel’s Parliament, United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon and Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the 85-year-old rabbi emeritus of Cong. Kehilath Jeshurun in NYC, led the parade as grand marshal.

Governor Cuomo proclaimed the day “Shimon Peres Day,” in the presence of Peres’ son Chemi, in memory of the late president of Israel. The first Sunday of June of each year will forthwith be called Shimon Peres Day in the state of New York.

New Jersey yeshiva day school students joined the many other yeshivas in the tri state area, with busloads of students crossing the Hudson to march and show their love and support for Israel.

The parade, which ran between West 57th Street and West 74th Street, included 11 marching bands and over 30 floats.

Teaneck resident Rabbi Michael S. Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, and the producer of the event, has nurtured the parade for over two decades so that it has become the largest Israel event in the United States each year.

The security at the 2017 parade was exceedingly tight. In the aftermath of the London terrorist event, just hours before the parade, the New York City police department was on extremely high alert. The immense number of police, including anti-terrorism squads with assault weapons stationed all along the parade route, attested to the very difficult situation that is being faced worldwide in any large communal gathering.

The parade was followed by two other events taking place nearby: the 24th annual Israel Day Concert at Central Park’s Summer Stage and the IAC (Israeli American Council) Celebrate Israel Festival at Terminal 5.

The Israel Day Concert was held in tribute to its founder Carl Freyer, z”l, and in memory of Dr. Manfred and Anne Lehman and Rose and Reuben Mattus, z”l. It was organized and chaired by Dr. Joseph and Karen Frager and Dr. Paul and Drora Brody. Included were speeches by various Israeli diplomats and Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. The concert portion featured performances by a host of Israeli and American Jewish performers.

The IAC Celebrate Israel Festival was created as a unique and fun-filled event for families and children with a focus on families with an Israeli-born parent. The Israeli American Council was formed to build an engaged and united community and to strengthen the Israeli and Jewish identity of the next generation of multi-cultural Israeli American families. This year’s theme was “Jerusalem, 50 Years of Reunification” with an emphasis on learning about the magnificent history of Jerusalem. It was a perfect complement to the rest of the day’s events.

By Tzvi Allen Fishman

 

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