When the shofar blowers sound the start of the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City on Sunday, June 5, hundreds of Monmouth County residents will be marching — displaying the fruits of their creativity and zeal for Israel — with their synagogues, schools, and community centers.
Among the Monmouth participants are Marlboro Jewish Center, Congregation Brothers of Israel of Elberon, Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore in Deal Park, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County in Marlboro, Temple Beth Ahm in Aberdeen, and Hillel Yeshiva in Ocean Township.
The local contingents will be part of a crowd of some 30,000 marchers in 100 groups from around the country, accompanied by more than 40 marching bands and floats. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue and continues north to 74th Street. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to line the avenue for the event, said Karen Ostrove, the parade’s creative director.
Founded in 1964, the march formerly known as the Salute to Israel Parade — the name has been changed, according to the event website, “in order to focus on celebrating the vibrant and diverse country of Israel” — has become the world’s largest gathering in celebration of the Jewish state. The parade also has a new logo this year designed by renowned graphic artist Milton Glaser.
Music is the center of this year’s official parade theme, “In Tune with Israel.” In addition to a host of community leaders and dignitaries, leading Israeli and American musicians, dancers, and other celebrities will contribute their talents. Confirmed musical acts include Beit Habubot, the platinum-selling Israeli “Band of the Year”; Soulfarm, the Jewish jam band; Mama Doni, the family-friendly rock group; and Kosher Dillz and Diwon, a hip-hop act.
Mitzva and music
Members of the Monmouth County contingents are creating their own banners, signs, and props to reflect the musical theme.
“Shirat Hayam” (“Song of the Sea”) is a natural fit for Congregation Brothers of Israel and Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore, whose delegations will march together under the banner of the “Jersey Shore Ashkenazi Community.”
“We are proud to link our beautiful seaside community with the magnificent seaside communities of Israel, while also celebrating the Exodus from Egypt,” said the contingent’s parade chair Dr. Andrew Samuel of Elberon, explaining that Miriam led the Israelites in the “Song of the Sea” following the safe crossing of the Red Sea in their flight from slavery. “Our YJS students have been working on their Israeli simha dancing, and we all look forward to this exciting annual opportunity to celebrate our love of Israel,” Samuel said.
Marlboro Jewish Center has proclaimed itself “In tune with our family and friends in Israel.” Its members and leaders will carry posters depicting the flags of many Israeli cities, created by the synagogue’s sixth-graders. The flags represent many of the places the congregants have visited, said Jules D. Cohn, cochair of the center’s Israel Affairs Committee.
A combined message of mitzva and music will characterize the contingent of groups marching together under the “Monmouth County Cluster” banner. The theme adopted by the cluster — Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, Solomon Schechter Day School, and Temple Beth Ahm — is “Singing Derech Eretz Israel,” which was created by SSDS parent Orlee Rait Neuwirth of Marlboro, said Linda Glickstein, the school’s director of admissions and marketing. The marchers will display signs fashioned into musical notes by Beth Ahm students.
“Our theme was inspired by the matriarch Rachel, whose poems speak of love for the land of Israel, and by songwriter Naomi Shemer, whose songs portray the beauty of Eretz Israel,” Neuwirth said. “It also refers to ‘derech eretz,’ or treating others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
“As Naomi Shemer sang, ‘Good people know the way, and with them it is good to march.’ It is really wonderful to be marching among all these good people celebrating Eretz Israel.”