Scores of first-time marchers will be joining the Monmouth County Cluster at the 2014 Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday, June 1.
The newcomers represent the following organizations: Center for Jewish Life, Marlboro; Monmouth Torah Links, Morganville; Shalom Torah Academy of Western Monmouth County, Morganville; and Temple Shaari Emeth, Manalapan.
The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County is helping sponsor bus transportation to Manhattan from Temple Beth Ahm in Aberdeen, Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore in Ocean, and Shalom Torah Academy.
Previously called the “Salute to Israel,” the name was changed to “Celebrate Israel” in 2011. This year’s theme, reflecting the milestone anniversary, is “50 Reasons to Celebrate Israel.”
The parade will proceed up Fifth Avenue, from 57th to 74th streets, beginning at 11 a.m.
“We’ve been talking about this for many years, and our rabbi, Melinda Panken, is a big advocate of our participation,” said Suzanne Wycoff of Jackson, social action committee cochair at Shaari Emeth.
Wycoff said about 20 congregants were signed up with more than a week to go before the deadline. Through federation, she said, the Manalapan temple was able to connect with Temple Beth Ahm, and the two groups will share a bus.
“For a very modest $18 per person, each marcher will get a round-trip ride to the city and a T-shirt,” said Wycoff. “I marched with my Brooklyn day school more than 20 years ago, and now I’ll be bringing my three daughters, who are 15, 13, and 11.”
CJL’s Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky said a congregant, Isaac Maryais, encouraged the synagogue to become involved.
“Israel is very important to us, so this activity has our members eagerly looking forward to it. We’re hoping to have more than 60 people in our group,” Kanelsky said.
“This is the 50th year for the parade and, coincidentally, the 50th anniversary of our synagogue,” said Ira Stein of Beth Ahm, a veteran marcher and coordinator of the Monmouth County Cluster.
“Our cluster’s subtheme is the miracle of Israel’s progress over the 66 years of its existence,” said Stein, who lives in Freehold. “Our banners and props recognize Israel’s biotech, technological, medical, agricultural, archeological, and humanitarian advances. The marchers will be wearing T-shirts, carrying banners and flags, and singing songs celebrating our theme.”
Stein’s wife, Terry, also an experienced parade participant, said, “Marching with all the different Hebrew day schools and organizations to celebrate and support our amazing Jewish State of Israel renews my faith in the spirit of the Jewish people.”
Stein urged anyone from Monmouth County who is interested in marching to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.