Israel@65: A Party Like No Other!
The 65th anniversary of Israel's independence was celebrated with more than 2,000 of our closest friends when Federation hosted Israel@65, a community-wide, family-friendly festival on April 21, 2013. Among the crowd were supporters from the greater community, partner agencies, local synagogues and dignitaries, including Consul General of Israel Chaim Shachem; Congresswoman Lois Frankel; Congressman Ted Deutch; County Commissioner Hal Valeche; and County Commissioner Paulette Burdick.
"The 65th anniversary (of Israel) is personally meaningful because I recently celebrated the same birthday milestone," said Congresswoman Frankel. "The timeliness of this event resonates with all Americans because of what happened in Boston. Israel, rebuilt from tragedy, showing the resilience of the Jewish spirit and the people of Israel. There's a sense of celebration, rejoicing and community that 65 years ago a barren land has grown to 8 million people strong. It's flourishing, a leader in technology, medicine and, more importantly, freedom."
The fun-filled afternoon was filled with many sights and sounds:
A candle lighting ceremony that celebrated our synagogues and temples and the vital work they do kicked off the festivities, as 12 of our community rabbis and lay leaders lit torches recognizing the 12 tribes of Israel. Participants were Rabbi Anthony Fratello of Temple Shaarei Shalom; Rabbi Michael Singer of Temple Beth David; Tony Lampert, President of Temple Emanu-El, and Maxine Kaufman, Executive Director of Palm Beach Synagogue; Rabbi Joel Levine and Rabbi Yaron Kapitulnik of Temple Judea; Rabbi Jeff Goldvasser of Temple Beit HaYam; Rabbi Barak Bar Hayim of The New Synagogue (Palm Beach); Rabbi Michael Simon of Temple Beth Kodesh; Rabbi Howard Shub of Temple Beth Tikvah; Rabbi Edward Bernstein of Temple Torah of West Boynton Beach; Rabbi Alon Levkowitz of Temple Beth Am; Rabbi Cookie Olshein of Temple Israel; Rabbi Leonid Feldman of Temple Beth El and Rabbi Stephen Pinsky of Temple Beth Torah.
"All my life I've seen Israel grow...An event like this brings awareness to the overall community," said Sam Liebovich, Federation's Israel & Global Initiatives Chair. "It gives more purpose to Federation and its parter agencies, and it continues L'Dor VaDor as each generation comes here together to celebrate."
Cantors and cantorial soloists led the group in the singing of both Israel’s and America’s national anthems, “Hatikvah” (The Hope) and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Popular Jewish artists, including rock artist Naomi Less, ensemble group Mika Karni & Kol Dodi, PJ Library(R) recording artist Joanie Leeds provided musical entertainment, while comedian Joel Chasnoff served as the event's master of ceremonies.
There was an exhibition of posters that featured images from the Tzahar Region, Federation's Partnership 2Gether (P2G) area in the northern Galilee, comprised of the cities of Tzfat, Rosh Pina and Hatzor Haglilit; a CapturePOD photo booth; community resource area featuring a raffle for a FREE trip to Israel, courtesy of El Al; and food for purchase.
"We came together as a community to share our strength with our partners in Israel," said P2G Chair Tommy Davidoff. "As a community, we believe in caring for each other...and our local Federation makes this a reality."
A special area specifically designed for children featured Israel-themed activities, such as an Israel Defense Force training zone and Masada rock climbing wall.
When the Rogers sisters, five-year-old Daphne and three-year-old Madeleine, were asked why they were at Israel@65 they said, "We're here for Israel's birthday and to play in the bounce houses and see the music."
"Israel@65 was an example of the Federation's powerful role as a community-builder and facilitator of excellence," said Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County Chief Executive Officer David Phillips. "We are overwhelmed by this remarkable display of cooperation and support from our partner agencies, synagogues, allied organizations and the Jewish community. Our love of Israel was on display as a community for everyone to see."
Our underwriters included Barbara & Jack Kay, The Bearman Foundation and Sheila & Alec Engelstein.
Event sponsors included TD Bank; El Al; G4S; Wells Fargo; Ciklin Lubin Martens & O'Connell; Publix and Royal Wine Corp.
A great time was had by all; check out the images!