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Celebrating Israel in New York

Tags: Heidi Krizer Daroff, Yom Haatzmaut, Jewish Unity, Diaspora

By Heidi Krizer Daroff

The sun was shining, the temperature was a cool 65 degrees and as I walked up beautiful 5th Avenue surrounded by thousands of Israel supporters my spirit was uplifted. There I was, representing Israel Forever at the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City, where we joined our fellow member organizations of the American Zionist Movement in celebrating our one and only Jewish State.

We who work in our offices, each doing what we can to support Israel, in meetings, phone calls and events, were outside, together, not doing but rather embodying what we feel every day. Our presence was a very public statement of our pride in our heritage and unbreakable bond to Zion. Holding this event, celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday, particularly when Israel is again under fire, made it all the more significant.

For all of us who care deeply about Israel it has been quite painful these past few weeks. Violent protests on the border, rockets and incendiary kites being launched at Israeli border towns all hours of the day and night, coupled with full court press propaganda campaigns against the Jewish homeland and her army. An army whose duty, just like the duty of every other army around the world is to protect its citizens. (Read and share our exclusive Discussing Gaza resource)

Lauren Englander, Israel Forever Ambassador. Photographer: Michelle Claire Gevint

For as far back as I can remember, there has been a yearly parade in New York City to celebrate Israel - the first being held in 1965. Having not participated over the past many years because I do not live locally, I had forgotten just how special this parade truly is and the feeling of pride it evokes. I can imagine that there are others around the country, or even around the world, who would love to take part in such a communal gathering, to feel the sense of belonging one can feel at a monumental event such as this one.

Imagine walking along with a massive crowd in front of you and a massive crowd behind you. Israeli music in the air. Blue and white Israeli flags waving everywhere. People of all ages from infants to the elderly cheering, clapping, singing, and dancing. We who are far from Israel but always have her in our hearts, had the spirit of Israel brought to us, enabling us to express our Israel connection with our celebration. Thousands of people joined with one heart.

IFF Co-Founder and Co-Chair Richard Heideman with IFF North America Director Heidi Krizer Daroff, and Theodore Herzl. Photographer: Michelle Claire Gevint

What would Herzl or Ben Gurion think if they could see the Israel at 70 celebrations? Our people achieved the miraculous, re-establishing the Jewish State and it is now possible to publically celebrate our Jewish identity in one of the most important cities in the world. Less than 100 years ago this was unimaginable. Would that we could go back in time and show these images to the Jews struggling to survive Nazi Europe… Can you imagine the astonishment, the rising hope, the backbone becoming straighter, heads lifted higher?

I was so proud that Israel Forever was part of this incredible undertaking to honor our one Jewish nation. For all involved it was a respite from the constant verbal and physical attacks against our people and an opportunity to join together with our friends and supporters and revel in all that Israel has accomplished and all that she contributes to humanity.

Photo by Heidi Krizer Daroff

We hope that this expression of celebration will continue all year round - something we help enable with every blog, every activity, every program designed to celebrate Israel EVERY DAY, all year round.

Many of you might be looking for ways you can make a difference in how your community, your school, congregation or even your family connect with Israel. Indeed, it is YOU, our global community of Virtual Citizens of Israel, who can help us reach more people and touch more lives. If you are looking for unique ideas on how to enhance, deepen and mobilize the Israel connection, please be in touch - we can help you be a part of making a real and tangible difference.

It is up to each and every one of us to make sure that Israel is Forever and the Israel Forever Foundation is here to help you do that.

Contact us and let’s explore growing your Israel connection.

Heidi Krizer Daroff enjoys sharing her passion for Israel with others as North America Director of The Israel Forever Foundation. While her passport indicates that she does not reside in Israel, her heart definitely does. Through her storytelling, Heidi invites you to grow your involvement and add more Israel Forever into your daily life.


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Tags: Heidi Krizer Daroff, Yom Haatzmaut, Jewish Unity, Diaspora

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