By: Chloe Mastour
The blistering heat was simply not enough to stop students and teachers of North Shore Hebrew Academy (“NSHA”), along with over thousands Israel supporters, from taking to the streets of Manhattan to march, dance and wave Israeli flags proudly on Sunday, May 22, at the Celebrate Israel Parade.
Known as one of the world’s greatest expressions of solidarity for Israel, the annual parade has unfortunately undergone a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. On Sunday, the parade returned with a blue-and-white colored vengeance. The miles-long march, highlighted with the theme “Together Again!” (Kulanu B’Yachad in Hebrew), featured dazzling floats blasting Israeli music, children carrying sparkling banners, waving Israeli flags, costumed marching bands and energetic dance troupes. The parade united all Jews under one flag in a giant display of ahava (love).
Since 1964, the Celebrate Israel Parade has drawn American Jews together from far and wide to partake in the largest global gathering in support of Israel, according to organizers. There are ways to support Israel without hopping on the next El Al flight; instead, march north on Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street and stand proudly in defense of the nation.
NSHA was certainly proud to do exactly that! Early on Sunday morning, the North Shore community boarded buses heading to Manhattan, donning specially made T-shirts and radiant smiles. The group headed down Fifth Avenue, proudly displaying our support of Israel.
“The parade is an amazing outpouring of love for the State of Israel,” said Principal of North Shore Rabbi Dr. Noam Weinberg. “It is an opportunity for our politicians to see our support for Israel and support their constituents.”
This year, thousands of Israel supporters participated in the march, along with several New York politicians and senior Israeli government officials. Among the attendees were New York Mayor Eric Adams and NY Rep. Grace Meng, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai, Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata. You can bet your bottom dollar that North Shore students got some great photo-ops throughout the march!
Despite the immense support emerging from many different communities, not all of Sunday’s spectators were supportive of the Jewish state. A small contingent of pro-Palestinian protesters and Jewish protesters from the Neturei Karta, an extremist anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox group, rallied from the sidelines; nevertheless, North Shore students drowned them out with their cheers and marched on smiling.
All in all, it was a glorious day of Jews proudly expressing their love for our homeland.