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Communities prepare for Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations

Posted on 19 April 2012 by admin

Celebrating Israeli Independence Day in the Diaspora

Events brimming with music and food reminiscent of the Israeli “street” connect Jews of the Diaspora with the Jewish State on the anniversary of its independence.

By Maxine Dovere
JointMedia News Service

Throughout the Jewish world, celebrations of Israel’s Independence Day will crowd calendars around the fifth day of the month of Iyar. The date commemorates the moment of the first public reading of Israel’s Declaration of Independence by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on May 14, 1948.

Events brimming with music and food reminiscent of the Israeli “street” connect Jews of the Diaspora and supporters of the Jewish State with Israel on the anniversary of its independence. Individuals and organizations, families and friends, young and old gather in synagogues, concert halls, clubs, parties and picnics to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the modern State of Israel. At the beginning or conclusion of each event, the notes of “Hatikvah” bring emotions to a high.

Faces striped in blue and white bring a smile, Israeli music lifts spirits and generations dance the hora until they are breathless. Jewish organizations, from the Friends of the Israel Defense forces to Dor Chadash to local JCC’s to synagogue Hebrew schools gather to bring a bit of Israel to their local holiday events.

Locally, festivities take place on Thursday, April 26 (in Dallas) and Sunday, April 29 (in Fort Worth).

The bounce house will be back at this year’s Israel Independence Day celebration. | Photo: Lisa Rothberg

In Dallas, at the Aaron Family JCC at 7900 Northaven Road, the vibrant culture of Israel and its various cities will be on display with help from contributing Jewish organizations. During the event, participants will take part in Israeli dancing, participate in an ecology program, create wax dolls and beeswax candles and enjoy pita making and mud and spa products. Also on hand will be bounce houses, a petting zoo and carnival games for children.

Unique to this year’s event is a musical performance by Bein Hametarim from Dallas’ partnership region in Akko. Also, there will be a Walk Israel Challenge, where walkers, runners, bikers, joggers or swimmers (a map is available on the JCC website), record their miles they do until the event and then everyone will finish the walk together on the field at the J.

Earlier in the week, on April 24, there will be a community Yom Hazikaron service memorializing fallen Israeli soldiers at the Ann and Nate Levine Academy, 18011 Hillcrest Road. The program, which will be conducted in both Hebrew and English, begins at 7 p.m.

A few days later, Fort Worth and Tarrant County will host its own celebration at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, complete with klezmer bands, Israeli dancing, a Judaica marketplace, crafts, games, face painting, Maccabiah Games, Israeli food, a kibbutz and raffle. The event will start at 1 p.m. Before the event a Yom Hazikaron memorial service honoring those who have served in Israel’s armed forces will take place at Beth-El Congregation. Congregation Ahavath Shalom is at 4050 South Hulen Street; Beth-El Congregation is across the street at 4900 Briarhaven Road.

Nationally, celebrations will take place in New York, St. Louis, Chicago and elsewhere.

Concerts featuring Jewish and Israeli performers and bands will enhance the Israeli Independence Day events in New York. Moshe Hecht, a New York-based “folk rock” artist and a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch community, brings a rock twist to traditional melodies.

“So much of what I’m doing is about Israel,” Hecht said. “Yom HaAtzmaut is about the land of Israel, not only about the state of Israel. Chabad creates a balance between the founding of Israel as a modern State and Torah values. We celebrate Israel every day, not only on a specific day of the declaration of Independence.”

Independence Day celebrations in the Diaspora mirror the excitement and enthusiasm of celebrating in Israel. Judy Ross, who spent several months of the year in Israel for decades, said she loved being in Israel for Independence Day, recalling the fireworks and the exuberant dancing.

“For days before the fifth of Iyar, people were hanging flags and banners from every window, from every balcony,” she recalled. “Entire blocks were festooned with color. Neighborhoods turned into forests of flags, seas of blue and white.”

Even the fireworks, she says, are special in Israel on Independence Day, decorating the skies in every town with color and sparkle. The dancing, she says, is “so uniquely energetic — it brings everyone together. Every town had a celebration.”

Calendar

FRI., APRIL 20

Celebrate Earth Day at the J
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Join the J to celebrate Earth Day. Participants will be able to shred boxes, exercise and explore the new Naturescape. Everyone is also encouraged to wear green.
Info: Carrie Ann Ring, 214-239-7138, caring@jccdallas.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

SAT., APRIL 21

Temple Emanu-El Tot Shabbat
9 – 11 a.m.
Tot Shabbat is geared toward families with young children who wish to capture that special Shabbat feeling. Stories, dance and music will be a part of the spiritual experience. The Tot Shabbat program welcomes all children up to age five and their families.
Info: Karen Haney, 214-706-0000, khaney@tedallas.org
Temple Emanu-El
8500 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Parents Night Out
7 – 10:30 p.m.
Spend a Saturday nght hanging out with friends, playing games and watching movies in pajamas. Open to kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. Cost is $20 for J members and $28 for non-members, and siblings are $12. A $5 fee will be added if registered after April 17.
Info/RSVP: Abbii Cook, 214-239-7189, acook@jccdallas.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

Girls Gymnastics Parents Night Out
7 – 10:30 p.m.
Dress in pajamas and get ready for nail painting, games, a movie on the mats and gymnastics. Girls are asked to bring leotards or athletic wear. Open to kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. Cost is $20 for J members and $28 for non-members, and siblings are $12. A $5 fee will be added if registered after April 17.
Info/RSVP: Amy Postel, 214-239-7176, apostel@jccdallas.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

SUN., APRIL 22

JCC Deca Challenge
7:30 – 9 a.m.
Ten events in one day including competitive sports and recreational activities. Strength and endurance will be judged based on age groups, starting at 50 years of age and older. The games will begin with opening festivities and conclude with an awards ceremony. Start training as an individual or practice with a group for any of the following: bowling, billiards, Wii games, table games, basketball free throw, 3-on-3 basketball, indoor cycling, table tennis, swimming and a two-mile fun walk.
Info: Heather Cordova, 214-239-7149, or Tom Easterling, 214-239-7178
JCC, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

Karen Leynor Mitzvah Day
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Congregation Beth Torah will host its annual community-wide mitzvah day, which will include activities on and off-site. There will also be free babysitting and breakfast for all who attend.
Info/Registration: Stacey Clark, sisterhood@congregationbethtorah.org
Congregation Beth Torah
700 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson

Anshai Torah Hazak Trip
9:30 a.m.
The Anshai Torah Hazak group is sponsoring its annual trip to Choctaw Casino. The bus will leave from the synagogue at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $10 per person and includes $10 slot play and a discounted buffet meal with a free player card. Event is open to Anshai members and friends. RSVP is due by April 8. Send check to synagogue payable to Hazak to Carl Uretsky.
Info: 972-473-7718
Choctaw Casino
3735 Choctaw Road, Durant, OK

Good Sports Extravaganza
1:30 – 3 p.m.
The Dallas chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women invites the community to its annual Good Sports Extravaganza. This year’s event will feature Mark Elfenbein, host of the 105.3 the Fan Talk Show, and mystery sports celebrities. Cost is $36 per person. RSVP is required by April 17.
Info/RSVP: 214-368-4405, www.ncjwdallas.org
Congregation Shearith Israel
9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Congregation Adat Chaverim Guest Speaker
4 p.m.
Rabbi Joel Zeff of the Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas will speak on the topic of “The Evil Eye, Envisioning its True Meaning.” Event is free and open to the community.
Info: 972-491-5917
Congregation Adat Chaverim
6300 Independence Pkwy., Plano

Congregation Anshai Torah Sisterhood Sushi Event
5:30 p.m.
Members of the Congregation Anshai Torah Sisterhood are invited to join Tim Paek, owner and chef of C-Rolls Sushi, as he teaches the fine art of sushi rolling. There will be a supply fee for this event.
Info: Kathryn Kaplan, kathrynskaplan@yahoo.com
Congregation Anshai Torah
5501 W. Parker Road, Plano

MON., APRIL 23

J Book Fair
7 p.m.
Author Ellen Frankel will discuss her book “Syd Arthur.” Cost it $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Info: Rachelle Weiss Crane, 214-239-7128, rweisscrane@jccdallas.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

A Taste of Hebrew
7 p.m.
Hosted by Congregation Shearith Israel, this class is for those who can read Hebrew at various levels. It will be taught by Dina Eliezer, director of the Weitzman Family Religious School. The cost is $20 for the entire series. RSVP is required.
Info/RSVP: Lindsay Gray, 214-361-6606, lgray@shearith.org
Congregation Shearith Israel
9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas
Also on April  30

TUES., APRIL 24

Short Story Book Club
7 p.m.
Author Linda Frank will share her book “After the Auction,” which discusses the pilfering of art by the Nazis. Event is free and open to the community.
Info: Nina Golboro, 214-239-7132, ngolboro@jfgd.org
Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

Yom HaZikaron Community Memorial Service
78:30 p.m.
The evening will be dedicated to the memories of all who gave their lives in defense of Israel. Music will be provided by Bein Hametarim, from Akko, Dallas’ partnership region in Israel. Childcare will be available at 6:45 p.m.,  RSVP required. Event is free and open to the community.
Info: Sarah Glauben, 214-615-5275, sglauben@jfgd.org
Ann and Nate Levine Academy
18011 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

WED., APRIL 25

SWJC Community Briefing with Gil Elan
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Commentary and analysis on the latest breaking news from Israel and the Middle East. Free and open to the public.
Info: 214-361-0018, swjc@swjc.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

THURS., APRIL 26

Israel Independence Day
4:30 8 p.m.
Experience Israel through fun, food, entertainment and learning. The J will be transformed into Israel and attendees will experience what the different cities have to offer. Event is free and open to the community.
Info: Laura Seymour, 214-239-7110, lseymour@jccdallas.org
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

FRI., APRIL 27

Story Friday
10 a.m.
Join Levine Academy for story time with a twist: Early Childhood Director Sheryl Feinberg brings stories to life using puppetry, flannel boards, song and music.
Info: Mirelle Brisebois-Allen, 972-248-3032, mallen@levineacademy.org
Ann and Nate Levine Academy
18011 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

SUN., APRIL 29

“Jews in American Politics”
9:3011 a.m.
Speaker Robert Epstein will discuss the careers of Henry Kissinger, Joe Lieberman, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Rubin, Barney Frank and others. A kosher brunch will be served.
Info: Robert Epstein, maccabee1948@aol.com
Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

“My Spouse’s Parents: Their Role In My Life”
9:2011 a.m.
Join the CSI Family Center as Yolanda Swopes, marriage and family therapist from Jewish Family Service, explores the unique dynamics of family. Private questions will be answered following the main presentation. Refreshments will be served before the presentation begins. Event is free, and babysitting is available.
Info: Suzanne Minc, 214-939-7340, sminc@shearith.org
Congregation Shearith Israel
9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Volunteer Appreciation Brunch
10:30 a.m.
Tiferet Israel will honor its volunteers. Event is free and babysitting is available.
Info: Jennifer Williams, 214-691-3611, jwilliams@tiferetdallas.org
Tiferet Israel Congregation
10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Yom HaZikaron
12:30 p.m.
Join the Tarrant County Jewish community to honor the memories of those who gave their lives for Israeli defense.
Info: 817-569-0892
Beth El Congregation
4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth

Israel Independence Day Celebration
14 p.m.
Fort Worth and Tarrant County will host its celebration which will feature klezmer bands, Israeli dancing, a Judaica marketplace, crafts, games, face painting, Maccabbia Games, Israeli food, a kibbutz and raffle. The program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation. Event is free and open to the community, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Info: 817-569-0892
Congregation Ahavath Sholom
4050 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth

J Book Fair
3 p.m.
Author Ann Koffsky will share her children’s book, “Noah’s Swim-a-Thon.” Event is co-sponsored by the PJ Library. Event is free and open to the community, but RSVP is required.
Info/RSVP: Rivae Balkin-Kliman, 214-239-7193, rbalkinkliman@jfgd.org
Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

Levine Academy Annual Gala
610 p.m.
State Senator Florence Shapiro will be honored, and special recognition will be given to teachers who have taught at the Levine Academy for 25 years or more. Cost is $180 per ticket and sponsorships are available. An online auction also began on April 17. RSVP is required.
Info/RSVP: 972-248-3032, www.levineacademy.org
Westin Galleria
13340 Dallas Pkwy., Dallas

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