I'm writing this post while watching the Celebrate Israel Parade, something that is easily possible to do from Fifth Avenue in the age of BlackBerrys and iPads, but much easier while at home seeing it on TV.
Hey, someone had to cover the inaugural broadcast from the viewer's perspective. Not pro-Israel enough? I'm also eating a felafel.
Despite the attempt by some friends to make me feel guilty about staying home (for a variety of reasons), I'm falling back on my two teenagers representing the family in the march.
Obviously, seeing the parade on TV doesn't come close to the real deal. For one thing, only two hours are being covered on channel 9, while the gathering with its pre and post events can be a full day of Zionism. But there are some advantages to home viewing, and not just the crowd-free environment with easy bathroom and kitchen access.
Multiple cameras give you unfettered views of all the action. Highlights I've just seen included Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand trying unsuccessfully to get a megaphone out of Chuck Schumer's hand as they passed the reviewing stand, a large Israeli folk dance group breaking formation to get into the camera shot, generous shots of my kids' yeshiva contingent (to be analyzed in slow motion during later playback) and lessons in Jewish culture from co-host Becky Griffin, such as how to correctly pronounce "chai" by "putting more phlegm into it" (see my interview with Becky in next week's paper.)
The parade broadcast was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and UJA-Federation. It was apparently quite an undertaking, something explored but abandoned as too expensive in past years, and there had to be some concern that doing so could cut attendance. But it was worthwhile to include those who can't attend because of age, distance, infirmity, fear of crowds or whatever. It's also being webcast for viewers in Israel and around the world. The coverage will also induce some people who have never attended to give it a try in the future.
As a novelty, I'm enjoying the broadcast. But as someone who has attended the parade on and off (more often than not) since childhood, with a personal connection to Israel that is certainly worth celebrating, I can say that getting a taste of it on TV makes it much more likely I'll be there in person next time. To get the best of both worlds, there's always the DVR.
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