This Sunday in NYC: 1 Million to Celebrate Israel

The Parade features 28 floats, 17 marching bands, and 35,000 marchers.



In what promises to be a massive outpouring of heartfelt public affection for the Jewish state, the annual Celebrate Israel Parade will take over Fifth Avenue in Manhattan this coming Sunday, June 2. Featuring 28 floats, 17 marching bands, and 35,000 marchers, the parade will likely attract its usual crowd of hundreds of thousands of joyous spectators, representing a cross-section of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel. Highlighted by a roster of top musical performers culled from the best of the modern Israeli and Jewish scene, the world’s largest celebration of Israel will be broadcast live on WOR Channel 9 TV from 12 noon to 2:00 PM, as well as on JL-TV from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.

Fifth Avenue will be a sea of blue and white – evoking the colors of the Israeli flag – this coming Sunday

Fifth Avenue will be a sea of blue and white – evoking the colors of the Israeli flag – this coming Sunday

“It’s an unparalleled day of celebrating Israel,” enthused Michael Mittelman, director of the Celebrate Israel Parade. “I think we’ve done a great job of making it more attractive to people. We have people from the Russian community, the Persian community, the Syrian community. We always encourage and try to get new groups out, and we have a great showing of people who attend every year.” Mittelman noted that the yearly celebration has recently been named by Crain’s magazine as the 14th largest outdoor festival in New York.

The parade director expressed pride in the fact that organizers have succeeded in attracting more than 75 new synagogues from across the denominations, as well as a variety of nonprofit groups. “We want this parade to reflect the diversity of our community,” he stated. The parade will travel its usual route along Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street.

The Celebrate Israel Parade, which features a preponderance of schoolchildren as marchers representing numerous Jewish day schools from the greater New York area, is the culmination of a year-long Israel education effort using a creative theme. Each group or float works with the parade staff to develop a creative presentation with colorful banners, costumes and props in a show of unity and pageantry. The theme of this year’s parade will be Picture Israel: The Art & The Craft. Accordingly, participants will display illustrations, paintings, collages and tapestries to show the diversity of Israel and its people, the land/sea/city-scapes, accomplishments, etc.

The premier group of performers who will regale the crowds with spirited music evoking the day’s theme will include the following:

  •  The featured guest performer, Gilad Segev, who is one of the most talked-about Israeli artists in both the mainstream and world music scenes in Israel. His newest singles, The Voices of the Heart and Holy Day, were instant hits, topping Israeli music charts. The Voices of the Heart, which is performed with Miri Mesika, was the most played Israeli song of 2012.
  •  Amir Gwirtzman, who is a world-renowned Israeli multicultural jazz artist who plays more than 20 different woodwinds, reeds, horns, pipes, flutes, and percussion instruments as a one-man band called Inhale-Exhale. Amir recently headlined the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and has played saxophone at the White House for President Bill Clinton. His music is a combination of R&B, jazz, and rhythms of Cuban jazz, along with Middle Eastern, Gypsy, Jewish klezmer, Armenian, Irish Celtic, and Native American influences.
  •  DJ Eyal Rob, an Israeli musical curator, musical producer, screenwriter, lecturer, music reporter focusing on hip hop, as well as a music editor for the Israeli “24” music channel. As an Israeli DJ and musician, Rob tours around the world addressing the cultural phenomenon “Made in Tel Aviv” by combining his unique musical style with an interactive presentation.
  •  Mama Doni Band, which will perform “funky music with a Jewish twist” atop a float. Winner of the Simcha Award for “Inspiring Joy Through Music,” this band celebrates Jewish culture with irrepressible zest in its high-energy, interactive family rock concerts and acoustic experiences filled with a contagious and unexpected blend of reggae, rock, disco, Latin, and klezmer—all woven together with soulful energy and a super hip Jewish sensibility.
  •  SOULFARM, the parade’s house band, which will be performing at the 68th Street grandstand area. Founded in Israel by Grammy Award winning lead guitarist C Lanzbom and guitarist and lead singer Noah Solomon Chase, their sound has been dubbed as New American music, with full melodic songwriting and progressive modern arrangements. Their live shows are full of Mediterranean flavor with captivating guitar leads, dance rhythms, and strong percussion breaks.


In addition to these musical powerhouses, players from the Israel National Soccer Team, ranked No. 59 in the world, will ride on a specially designed float, prior to their Sunday evening match against Honduras at Citi Field.

Adding a special patina of vivid colors to the celebration, world-famous American pop artist Peter Max is the official artist for the 2013 Celebrate Israel Parade, designing its posters, flyers, and street banners.

The parade, which is expected to attract the participation of numerous elected officials, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is the marquee event of the JCRC-NY’s Celebrate Israel Initiative—an initiative largely sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Communal Fund and Consulate General of Israel in New York—that celebrates the positive impact the Jewish and democratic State of Israel has on the lives of people around the world.

“It’s a joy to see throngs of supporters of Israel from across the metropolitan area and beyond come together to celebrate at the annual parade,” JCRC-NY Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Miller said. “We are so excited for our newest additions which we hope will draw an even larger crowd as we all stand to support Israel.”

“Year after year, the parade never ceases to be a thrilling experience, bringing the unflagging spirit of Israel to the streets of New York. I feel privileged to be a part of the festivities,” Miller adds.

A diverse group of organizations will have floats in this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade. To name just a few, they include American Friends of Magen David Adom; Bank Leumi USA; Hillel Yeshiva; IDT Corporation; Jewish Agency for Israel; Nefesh B’Nefesh; Orthodox Union (OU); Sephardic Heritage Alliance; Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem; and Yeshiva University. Additionally, for the first time, the Jewish Voice will have its own spectacular float.

A plethora of other Jewish and Israel-supporting groups will be represented by marchers in this year’s parade as well. These are set to include the World Forum of Russian Jewry, the World Zionist Organization, Barkai Yeshiva, Bnei Akiva, Friends of the IDF, Jewish Foundation School, Magen David Yeshiva Lower & High Schools, Moise Safra Community Center, Rambam Mesivta, Chai Lifeline’s Team Lifeline and Yeshiva Derech HaTorah.

The Grand Marshals of this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade are Marty and Melanie Scharf, and Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York.


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