The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) announced recently that Edward A. Mermelstein will lead the 2019 Celebrate Israel Parade as its Grand Marshal up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday, June 2 in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators. The parade is scheduled to kick off at 12 noon. Joining him in leading the Parade as Honorary Grand Marshals will be Ted Comet, Founder of the Celebrate Israel Parade; Siggy Flicker, Author and TV personality; Liel Leibovitz and Stephanie Butnick, Co-Hosts of the Unorthodox podcast, Sid Rosenberg, Co-Host of Bernie & Sid in the Morning.
Edited by: JV Staff
The Parade is the largest public event celebrating Israel in the world highlighting Israel’s rich heritage, vibrant culture, and the positive impact the Jewish and democratic state of Israel has on the lives of people around the world.
More than 30 floats with musical performers, 15 world-class marching bands, and 40,000 marchers will march along Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street, and entertain hundreds of thousands of spectators. This year’s creative theme for marching groups and floats is “Only in Israel” from the renowned hebrew song Rak B’Yisrael.
A selection from the off-Broadway hit musical Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, will be performed live by cast members at this year’s Parade. Directed by Oscar and Tony Award-winner Joel Grey, the rich Yiddish translation of Fiddler on the Roof by Shraga Friedman, adds new depth and dimension to the most well-known Jewish musical in the world, telling the beloved story of a community and its struggle to balance traditions and desires in a changing world.
Grand Marshal Edward A. Mermelstein – Edward A. Mermelstein is an accomplished top-tier legal strategist, businessman, consultant, investor, and developer in NYC. He is founding partner of One & Only Holdings, LLC, which includes One & Only Realty, and former partner at Rheem Bell & Mermelstein, LLP. As Chairman of COJECO, Edward helps facilitate the integration of Russian-speaking Jews into the greater American Jewish community while preserving their cultural heritage. As President of Zaka Search and Rescue, Edward leads an UN-recognized NGO, with thousands of volunteers, on call to respond to man-made or natural disasters. Edward has served on the Boards of UJA-Federation of New York, RAJE, and other charitable organizations. Fluent in English and Russian, Edward emigrated to the U.S. in 1976. In addition to his work, he is involved in numerous charitable organizations supporting local as well as national causes rooted in culture, politics, education and the arts. Edward lives in NYC with his wife, Rose, a Broadway producer and five-time Tony award winner, and his two sons.
Honorary Grand Marshal Ted Comet – Ted Comet is a Founder of the Celebrate Israel Parade and was Chairman of the Parade (1966-68). Comet, a veteran Jewish community leader, was director of the American Zionist Youth Federation at the time the Parade was created in 1965 and was seeking ways to express support for the Jewish state. He was also a key official of the Council of Jewish Federations and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Honorary Grand Marshal Siggy Flicker – Sigalit “Siggy” Flicker is a relationship specialist, matchmaker, author, and former cast member on reality-TV show The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Flicker was born in Israel to Jewish parents and was named after the Hebrew word for “violet.”
Honorary Grand Marshal Sid Rosenberg – Rosenberg is a radio personality and one of the most celebrated names in sports broadcasting. He is currently co-host of Bernie and Sid in the Morning on 77 WABC Radio. He also hosts Sid Sports Sunday, on which he delivers sports news, reviews the games of the week, interviews big names from the sports industry, and provides the best picks for fantasy teams.
Honorary Grand Marshal Stephanie Butnick – Stephanie Butnick is a deputy editor for Tablet Magazine and co-host of Unorthodox. She has a bachelor’s degree in religion from Duke and a master’s in religious studies from NYU. She lives in New York with her husband and their cat, Cat Stevens.
Honorary Grand Marshal Liel Leibovitz – Liel Liebovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and co-host of Unorthodox, the world’s leading Jewish podcast. He is also the author or co-author of seven books, including, most recently, A Broken Hallelujah: Rock n’ Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen. A native of Tel Aviv and a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, Liel lives in Manhattan with his wife Lisa, a senior editor at Scholastic, and their two children.
Among the many bands and entertainers joining the Parade this year, featured guests include:
∙ DJ Itay Galo – Dj Itay Galo is an electronic musician, DJ, and producer whose music has erupted in the Israeli market. For the past ten years, he has been known to be the number one DJ in Tel Aviv. Galo is the CEO and founder of Atisuto, which is one of the most recognized and well respected music production company’s in Israel.
∙ The Moshav Band – Internationally acclaimed American/Israeli rock band The Moshav Band began when childhood friends Yehuda and Duvid made music together on Moshav Mevo Modiin in Israel. The group was initially discovered by a group of American students traveling in Israel who heard the band play and raised money to bring them to the states for a college tour in the late 1990s. Soon after, The Moshav Band relocated to Los Angeles where they continued to grow their fan base and began recording with some of the industry’s best.
∙ Young Gravy – Young Gravy’s African American, Jewish identity is a foundation to his music as a rapper. The music video for his hit, “Diaspora,” was filmed in Jerusalem in which he raps in Hebrew. Young Gravy has been heavily influenced by West Coast hip hop artists, but he has found inspirations in various other facets of rap including modern trap music. From old school West Coast tracks to contemporary rap, Young Gravy has been able to bring his own unique style to the diverse genre of hip hop.
∙ Omri Anghel – Anghel is a NYC-based Israeli DJ and producer. For the past two decades, Anghel has been releasing music for labels like Jellybean, Eightball, Twisted, Whoop, and Tommy Boy and working with artists including Celeda, RuPaul, Assaf Amdursky, Dana International, and Darrell Martin. He served as music producer, sound designer, and video editor at Interlude, New York tech and media company, creating interactive video experiences for clients including Coca Cola, Sony Music, Warner Music, NBA, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Anghel is also the creator of comedy shorts for Israel’s prime time show “Future TV” on the Reshet Network. Omri spends his time combining the worlds of sound and vision with works of art and entertainment for many clients and his own repertoire.
∙ Kosha Dillz – American rapper, Rami Matan Even-Esh, has toured and performed with a variety of artists, including Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, Matisyahu, Cage the Elephant, C-Rayz Walz, Yak Ballz and Aesop Rock. He has become a mainstay in the Hip Hop World and beyond, playing at the Paid Dues Festival, BK Hip Hop Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Rock The Bells, and Vans Warped Tour. Kosha was honored as one of The Jewish Week’s 2013 36 Under 36.
∙ SOULFARM – Founded in Israel by Grammy Award winner lead guitarist C Lanzbom and guitarist and lead singer Noah Solomon Chase, their sound has been dubbed as New American music, full melodic song writing and progressive modern arrangements. Together with drummer Ben Antelis and bassist Daniel Ori, their live shows are full of Mediterranean flavor with captivating guitar leads, dance rhythms and strong percussion breaks. SOULFARM serves as the Parade’s official House Band.
∙ Milk & Honeys – An Afro Hebrew NYC-based band that brings a unique and refreshing blend of Israeli music with a wide range of influences, such as Afro-beat, Ethiopian music, R&B and Funk.
∙ Barynya Entertainment – Barynya Entertainment is a world renowned group that enjoys exalting stature as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia. Barynya Entertainment agency was established in 1991 by owner Mikhail Smirnov. Performers include a wide-range of comedians, dancers, singers, and musicians of all kinds.
∙ Holocaust Survivor Band – Founded by Saul Dreier, 93-year-old Holocaust Survivor, this klezmer group was created to revive the songs Dreier grew up listening to while he was imprisoned in the Krakow-Plaszow and Mauthausen concentration camps. Their intention is to preserve and share Jewish music and culture and to spread the message for World Peace.
The Parade will be televised live from 12-3pm on FOX affiliate, WWOR-TV My9 and for the first time on Jewish Broadcasting Service on cable TV. The Parade will also be streamed online at celebrateisraelny.org so that Israelis and Israel supporters throughout the world can tune in. The Celebrate Israel Parade Broadcast is sponsored by Friends of Maimonides Medical Center.
For the latest information, please visit the Parade website at celebrateisraelny.org, follow us on Twitter @celebrateisrael, visit our Facebook page: Celebrate Israel Parade and subscribe to our YouTube Channel:www.YouTube.com/CelebrateIsraelNY.
About the Celebrate Israel Parade
The Celebrate Israel Parade highlights the vibrant and diverse State of Israel. The Parade features over 40,000 marchers from many organizations. Hundreds of thousands enthusiastic spectators watch American and Israeli community leaders and dignitaries, entertainers, artists, musicians, dancers, celebrities, floats and marching bands. Many more watch on the live broadcast via television or live-stream. The Parade is produced by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), in cooperation with UJA-Federation of New York and the State of Israel.