Israel Parade draws crowds, despite the heat and tightened security.
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video:
A sea of blue and white blurred across Fifth Avenue as tens of thousands of people attended the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City Sunday, June 2.
Students, schools and organizations from all over the tri-state area were some of the 35,000 people that marched in the parade to celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary, as well as 30 floats and 17 marching bands.
Walking along the route of the Israel Day Parade on Sunday, from 72nd Street down to 59th Street along Fifth Avenue, we were reminded once again, and in dramatic fashion, how the expression of Zionism in American has become increasingly the purview of the Modern Orthodox community.
They may not be eligible for a merit badge, but a group of Jewish Westchester Girl Scouts is earning Brownie points for guts.
The grade-schoolers, told they could not march in uniform at Sundayís Salute to Israel Parade because the national Girl Scouts of the USA had declared the event too political, were ready to break camp with the Scouts.
It wasn’t only the weatherman who rained on the annual Salute To Israel parade on Sunday. At least a half-dozen insurance companies declined to cover the event, causing the organizers to scramble until almost the last minute to find a carrier.
In the end, though, neither rain nor wind nor skittish insurers prevented an estimated 100,000 marchers — many of them schoolchildren — from participating in the 39th annual event, the largest parade in support of Israel.
Schoolchildren participating in Sunday’s Salute to Israel Parade will learn about Israel’s courageous struggle to survive and the perseverance of the Jewish people. But William Helmreich and Nathaniel James agree that they may also learn a thing or two about compromise.
This year’s Salute to Israel Parade will do more than reflect on the first 50 years of the Jewish state. For many spectators and participants, it will reflect on American history as well.
For the first time in 33 years, those marching down Fifth Avenue on May 17 will include both Jews and African Americans as they combine support for Israel with commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As organizers of the Salute to Israel Parade prepare for upwards of 100,000 marchers on May 5 — what would be the largest in its 38-year history — they are also assuring participants that extra security precautions will be taken.
“New York’s Finest have assured us that they are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of all participants,” said Ruth Kastner, executive director of the parade, who noted that state, federal and private security services would also be on hand.