In case you couldn’t tell from all of the celebratory ads and stories in this week’s issue — and many before this one — Israel is celebrating a special birthday.
It’s not every day you turn 70 years old, and the Greater Philadelphia community has been celebrating for a few weeks now with events and special services. (Israel itself held its official celebration on Thursday, April 19.) Neighboring New Jersey has already gotten in on the fun as the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill hosted an Israel 70 celebration on April 22 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. The entire Jewish community of South Jersey came together to plan the celebration.
But keep your party hats on because there are still plenty of happenings coming up that will celebrate Israel’s birthday.
Here are a few more events in the coming days and weeks that will keep the party goin’.
Temple Sinai has honored Israel’s 70th throughout April — including an Israel Fest on April 22 — and will continue with a soiree in celebration on April 28. The event will also honor longtime members Bill and Karen Kramer. Congregants are encouraged to share photographs of past visits to Israel, which will be featured in a video played during the event. 1401 Limekiln Pike, Dresher.
At KleinLife on April 29, children from cultures around the world will salute Israel’s 70th birthday through the International Community Children’s Concert at noon. $5/person. For more information, contact Victoria Faykin at 215-698-7300, ext. 175, or firstname.lastname@example.org. 10100 Jamison Ave., Philadelphia.
Friends of IDF and Uru Achim will mark the occasion with a program saluting IDF soldiers at 4 p.m. on April 29 at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim. IDF Capt. Daniel Sahalo will share the story of his journey from Ethiopia to Israel plus welcoming remarks from former Navy Capt. Gary Tabach and a performance by world-renowned pianists Olga and Dmitry Borisovsky. Also nosh on hors d’oeuvres and drinks. $25 admission, registration required. Call 215-383-2890 for more information. 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia.
Hear stories of love with Theatre Ariel at 7 p.m. on April 30 at Shir Ami as it brings to life selections from Israel Story, the hit podcast inspired by NPR’s This American Life. The stories, by and about real Israelis, are intimate, humorous, touching and soulful. Join a captivating evening of theater — including a dessert reception — and discover the array of what it means to fall in love in Israel. $18/person, register in advance at bit.ly/theatreariel. 101 Richboro Road, Newtown.
On May 3, the Anti-Defamation League and its International Affairs Committee, in conjunction with Jewish Federation’s Israel 70 project and the National Museum of American Jewish History, will sponsor “After 70 Years… Israel’s Relationships with Her Neighbors” at 5:30 p.m. at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Join in for a “fireside” chat with Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel, and Carole Nuriel, ADL regional director, Jerusalem, to learn about the successes, challenges and new initiatives among Israel and her neighbors over the last 70 years. Free with advance registration. 101 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia.
In case one day of celebrating wasn’t enough, Camp Galil will host a Shabbat weekend in Ottsville, with a spring seminar open to all Chanichim/ot (campers), third grade and up, as well as Tzevet (staff). On Sunday, join the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Israel 70 celebration in Valley Forge. Transportation will be provided from Galil to the event and back to the Main Line and Elkins Park in the afternoon. Contact Mor at email@example.com or call 215-380-2245 for more information.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia will hold what it calls the ultimate birthday party for Israel on May 6 at Valley Forge Casino Resort. The event, 5-6-70 Israel!, which is free and open to the public, will feature cooking demos, wine and olive oil tastings, Israeli dancing, gaga courts, short Israeli films, art and science exhibits, vendors offering fine crafts and Judaica, local music and the popular Israeli cover band Capaim. There will also be a kids area with crafts, singalongs and other activities. Noon to 5 p.m. 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia.
In Israeli films of the past two decades, internal social pressures have taken center stage while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has mostly been kept in the background. Differences in religion, ethnicity and nationality are sources of tension, conflicting and competing over the “identity” of Israel as it is being redefined. On May 6 at 10 a.m. (bagels and coffee at 9:30 a.m.) at Main Line Reform Temple, Iris Drechsler, artistic chair of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, will share film clips and discuss current trends and challenges facing Israel as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. For more information, call 610-649-7800. 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood.
Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El will add a musical element with a concert by Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza on May 6 at 7 p.m., after the Jewish Federation’s 5-6-70 Israel! event. Tickets: $36/adult, $18/students. Call 610-649-5300 for more information. 1001 Remington Road, Wynnewood.
Philadelphia will raise its love for Israel high at an Israeli flag raising ceremony on May 14 — the same day in the 1948 secular calendar when Israel declared its independence — at 1 p.m. at City Hall. Join the Jewish Federation for a ceremony featuring a mayoral proclamation, a visit by Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan and a musical performance by the Perelman Jewish Day School youth choir. (Rain date: May 17, same time and place.)
Be sure to check out jewishexponent.com/events as well as jewishphilly.org/israel70 for more updates and events.
Yom huledet sameach, Israel!