The art classes at S.K.A. and HAFTR were all filled with student-made banners portraying Israeli flags, kippot and themes of every respective yeshiva. As New York City prepares for the festivities celebrating Israel’s independence, Long Islanders are gearing up for a day of great tribute and emotion.
On the heels of the AIPAC conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and President Obama’s recent comments on the 1967 Israeli borders, tens of thousands of Jews are expected to march down Fifth Avenue on Sunday in the Celebrate Israel Parade and then gather in Central Park for a Jerusalem United Forever concert/rally.
“The parade itself has an overarching theme of the pasuk shiru lanu mshir tzion,” said HAFTR Lower School’s art director, Rena Mosac. “We translated it to sing us a song of Zion.” Taking a different variation on this year’s song for Israel theme, S.K.A. principal Rabbi Jeff Rothman said, “S.K.A.’s parade theme this year is shiru l’Hashem shir chadash.” Both schools painted banners of children carrying musical instruments and notes fashioned into Hebrew letters expressing each school’s respective slogan.
With an expected 30,000 proud marchers and hundreds of thousands of spectators, this year’s parade has three major innovations. Milton Glaser, who is best known for his I Love NY logo, designed the parade’s new logo. “The Celebrate Israel Parade makes the statement that we stand with Israel through thick and thin, and that the fates of our nations are linked. The shapes and colors in the logo represent the relationship of light to life,” Glaser said.
Prior to the parade, the New York Road Runners and Jewish Community Relations Council will hold a four-mile theme run through Central Park, representing various Israeli destinations along the path. The run will begin at 9 a.m. at Summer Stage inside the park. Participants will be drawn into a raffle that includes two round-trip El Al tickets to Israel. For those who cannot make it to Manhattan, this year’s parade will be the first to be will be televised live.