The parade is the marquee event of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York’s (JCRC-NY) Celebrate Israel Project – an initiative largely sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Communal Fund, Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Consulate General of Israel in New York – that celebrates the positive impact the Jewish and democratic state of Israel has on the lives of people around the world.
“It’s a joy to see throngs of supporters of Israel from across the metropolitan area and beyond come together to celebrate at the annual parade,” JCRC-NY Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Miller said. “We who stand with Israel are strengthened by the sight of hundreds of thousands of people lining Fifth Avenue as schools, community groups, marching bands and floats decked in blue and white go by. Year after year, the parade never ceases to be a thrilling experience, bringing the unflagging spirit of Israel to the streets of New York. I feel privileged to be a part of the festivities.”
“We are delighted to be involved in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade,” Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said. “More than just a parade, this day is a celebration of the special relationship between Israel and America that is rooted in common values and goals. Like America, Israel is a strong, vibrant democracy, a symbol of freedom, tolerance and understanding. My ministry strives to strengthen our relationship with Jewish communities in the United States, and events like these are critical to both nations.”
This year’s parade will include lively floats, some of the region’s best marching bands, top area musicians and a number of other exciting additions suitable for all ages, including groups of stilt walkers, dancing rollerbladers and juggling clowns. Musical acts featured at the parade include Grammy-nominated electronic band J. Viewz, Middle Eastern folk group Soulfarm, reggae-influenced Moshe Hecht Band and Jewish rockers Blue Fringe.
More than 200 organizations are scheduled to march along Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street.
“We are all thrilled at the Bi-Cultural Day School to be marching in the Israel parade once again,” said Jacqueline Herman, principal of the Stamford, Connecticut-based school. “We have had the privilege of participating in the parade for many years; each year we look forward to celebrating and recognizing all the gifts that Israel provides all of us around the world. After spending an entire month in Israel, our eighth graders joyously look forward to leading the school up Fifth Avenue.”
“The Yeshiva University community is proud to participate in the Celebrate Israel Parade as we have for many years,” YU President Richard Joel said. “Our students relish the opportunity to express their support and commitment to the future of the State of Israel and we are delighted to be one of the largest delegations in the parade.”
Related events include Celebrate Israel Night with the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 30 (vs. the Phillies) and, in conjunction with New York Road Runners and the Jewish Agency for Israel, a Celebrate Israel Run in Central Park at 8 AM the morning of the parade, with more than 5,300 participants already registered to run a four-mile course representing a journey from Eilat to Tel Aviv. Following the run, runners and spectators can continue celebrating Israel at the post-run festival at the Central Park Bandshell, featuring live Israeli music, food and prizes.
For the second year in a row, the parade will be televised live by WWOR-TV My9 from 12–2 PM that Sunday and streamed online at celebrateisraelny.org, so Israelis and Israel supporters throughout the world can watch. Anchoring the My9 broadcast will be Fox 5 and My9 anchor Harry Martin and Israeli TV presenter Becky Griffin. Fox 5 reporter Robert Moses will interview participants along the route.
This year’s creative theme for marching groups and floats is “Israel Branches Out.” Each group works with parade staff to develop a presentation of colorful banners, costumes and props related to the theme in some way, whether literally— with flowers and trees—or figuratively, such as finding one’s roots.