‘Branching out’ to support Israel
New Jersey schools, synagogues, and organizations were well represented at this year’s Celebrate Israel parade, themed “Israel Branches Out,” on New York City’s Fifth Avenue June 3.
The skies were (mostly) sunny as the parade, now in its 48th year, brought together over 35,000 marchers, hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators, 18 marching bands, 29 floats, and live performances by such groups as Blue Fringe, SoulFarm, the Moshe Hecht Band, and J Viewz.
Marching under a cluster of synagogues and organizations organized by United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ were Jersey Tribe, Congregation B’nai Israel of Millburn, Golda Och Academy in West Orange, the MetroWest Diller Teen Fellows, Mount Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph, Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael, Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair, Congregation Agudath Israel of Caldwell, MetroWest Mifgash Teens, and the MetroWest Peoplehood Project. Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston also sent a delegation to the parade.
“This is something that we do every year as a community to show our support for Israel,” said Michelle Resnick, a learning specialist at Golda Och Academy who served as an on-site faculty member at the parade. Some 80 students marched with the West Orange school, while others represented local chapters of United Synagogue Youth, Young Judaea, and Israel Scouts. Additionally, GOA students in grades three-five participating in the school’s Israel Club created their own parade commercial to create an extra buzz (view it on YouTube).
Most of the students from the three schools of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth made their own way into the city, and joined up at the parade site. JEC did send 11 busloads of youngsters, who joined staff and family to march up Fifth Avenue.
— LORI SILBERMAN BRAUNER