Local Celebrations for Yom HaAtzmaut
North Texas Jewish communities will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut on Sunday, April 30.
The family-friendly Dallas celebration will be hosted by the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is presented in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) and sponsored by the community and the Prescott family.
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will hold a Yom HaAtzmaut celebration beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St. Lunch tickets are $18 for adults and teens and $9 for 12 and under.
Please register at https://www.tarrantfederation.org/events-books/yomhaatzmaut2023.
Community celebration with Itay Levi in concert
By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas’ Jewish community is readying to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday with music, food, activities and fun for all. The celebration will be held between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, at the Aaron Family JCC and in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, the Israeli Tzofim (Scouts), community members and the Prescott family. The public is invited to a concert by Israeli superstar Itay Levi and much more.
“It is good to be back, good to be together and good to host a party for Israel — and what a party this will be!” said Artie Allen, CEO of the Aaron Family JCC.
“This event is about so many organizations coming together, of families stepping up and of the youth of our Israeli Tzofim being so hands-on in creating a celebration of Israel as though we were in Israel. We all feel strongly about our homeland and heritage. There’s nothing better than all branches of Jewish Dallas, all walks of life, coming together,” Allen added.
Igor Alterman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, says this notable milestone of Israel’s 75th anniversary is exactly the right time to party.
“This wonderful party is a chance to get a taste of Israel in Dallas. It’s important for us Jews to care, to have concern for our brethren and to stand up, stand for, to be involved and engaged,” said Alterman. He hopes guests at the event will be invigorated in the Israeli experience of the day, and leave wanting to sign on to the Federation’s Jewish Dallas Israel at 75 Community Mission in November.
In addition to the concert, there will be a DJ featuring Israeli music, Israeli dancing, a shesh-besh (backgammon-like) tournament, TikTok Israeli-style, bounce houses, Israeli crafts, an obstacle course and food and drinks for sale by Monster Yogurt and Simcha Kosher Catering.
Levi has starred in the Habima Theatre/National Theatre of Israel and in a production of “Kazablan” and has appeared as a judge on “The Next Star TV” show. With millions of views on social media, Levi’s popularity has increased since his debut song “Almost a Love Song” a decade ago and his album debut, “What’s Going On.” At Israel’s 75th Independence Day Celebration, Levi will present a musical extravaganza of favorite hits and new music in an electrifying performance.
“When we came to the U.S. from Israel, the J was there for us and helped make this community something we felt a part of. Now, many years later, we wanted to give back and, in this way, bring a great party to the J,” said an anonymous donor, whose family’s gift makes Levi’s appearance possible.
“It’s been a tough couple of years and it’s time to break out, to party and to honor Israel on her anniversary. Itay is the guy in Israel. Bringing him here, with this amazing concert, along with all the other activities, is bringing great light to the community and it is our honor,” the donor added.
“The partnership with the J, the Federation, the Tzofim and so many others is terrific and we are putting together a day to feel like we are in Israel,” said Laura Seymour, the J’s camp director emeritus and Jewish experiential learning director, who is also a TJP columnist. She is working with Rachelle Weiss Crane, the J’s Israel engagement and Jewish living director and independent event producer, Randi Steinhart, to create the extravaganza.
“It’s a massive undertaking but everyone connected is so enthused. Of all the values we promote at the J, the most important is the sense of belonging, the feeling of being welcomed. Being together singing Israeli songs, creating Israeli crafts and dancing to Israeli music will take ‘doing Jewish at the J’ to a whole new level,” Seymour added.
Rotem Machlev, a shaliach (agent) of Israel through the Jewish Agency who is in her eighth of 24 months serving the Dallas area, is working with the Israeli Tzofim to build and create activity stations that will allow participants to connect to Israel.
“We want to share what we know and love the most and we think our Dallas community will really enjoy it all. We are building almost everything from scratch,” she said.
“The more I’m here, the more Israel is in me and I want all my new friends here, all of the community, to feel Israel, to really celebrate and experience what I feel. As Jews, no matter where we are, I know we all feel Israel is home. I’m so proud of how our Scouts in grades two to 12 take this so seriously and how responsible they feel for bringing Israel to Dallas,” Machlev added.
Dan Prescott says that for him, his wife Stephanie, children Alex (Jess), Ethan, Jordan (Inbar) and grandchildren Jake and Maddie, celebrating Israel is at their core.
“Our family has always been about building community. To celebrate Israel, through all of our common love and dedication, is something we’re just thrilled to do. It’s a pleasure working with, and we are so appreciative of, the staff at the J, leadership from all over town and our generous donors. Really, it’s nothing less than a team effort,” said Prescott.
He added, “We support the State of Israel, we are thankful for its existence and we stand by our people.”
For more details, or to purchase tickets ($18/person, $36/family maximum, $18 for Shesh Besh Backgammon Tournament entry, maximum 48 players), visit jccdallas.org/event/israels-75th.