Locals Celebrate 65 Years in Israel

5 Apr
2013 March of the Living Participants with Holocaust survivor Dr. Helen Fagin

2013 March of the Living Participants with Holocaust survivor Dr. Helen Fagin

For Israel’s 65th birthday this April, we’ve gone all out. We planned an 18-month calendar chock full of speakers, films, concerts, cultural and community-wide events to celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary of modern statehood. We kicked off the celebration in November with a concert by the IDF band, held an enormous Israeli-themed fair attended by over 6,000 community members in January, and now, we are taking the party over to our second home in the East. What better way to celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday than to actually send people from our community to Israel on Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel Independence Day)?

Today, 5 of our community’s teenagers arrived in Poland for the March of the Living Mission. The Mission first takes teens, adults, and Holocaust survivors from all over the world to Poland to witness its rich Jewish history as well as a “life march” from Auschwitz to Birkenau. After a week in Poland, the group will fly to Israel to celebrate the thriving Jewish life that has prevailed for the last 65 years.

In addition to our young witnesses, we will be bringing 22 area pastors, rabbis, and other religious and community leaders on our second Interfaith Mission to Israel. The Mission will leave April 8th for 10 days, including Israel Independence Day, which begins on the evening of April 15th (the 5th of the Hebrew month Iyar). It is also significant to note that both missions will be in Israel on Yom HaZikaron, Israel Remembrance Day, as well, which falls on the evening of April 14th. This was purposely placed immediately before Independence Day so that the mourning for fallen soldiers would be followed by the celebration of life – the lives that Israelis have given to preserve the life of the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael.

Yom Ha’atz’ma’ut is always a big celebration in Israel, but this year it will be even bigger for an even more significant birthday. We are so incredibly proud to be able to send two groups on such meaningful missions at such a pertinent time.  Not to worry, though; there are plenty of ways that you can celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary here at home in Sarasota, too! Come see an Israeli movie at the Sarasota Film Festival’s Blue and White Weekend, presented in partnership by your Federation. And you won’t want to miss Israeli hip-hop violin sensation, Miri Ben-Ari, playing with the Sarasota Orchestra on May 11th! Check out our events page for other great Jewish happenings in the community, too!

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