Israel Independence Day Parade and Festival

The Jewish community of Philadelphia celebrated the 65th anniversary of the State of Israel with a parade and festival on Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Marchers in the parade organized at 20th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Free Library of Philadelphia Main Branch. The parade began with a motorcycle color guard, followed by an ambulance from the American Friends of Magen David Adom. At that point, a handful of demonstrators holding a sign with anti-Israel slogan released black helium balloons to express their displeasure.

More after the jump.

Marching in the parade were:

  • Congregation Beth Or;
  • Volunteers For Israel;  
  • Kohelet Yeshiva High School;  
  • Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy;
  • Perelman Jewish Day School;
  • Lower Merion Synagogue;
  • Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia;
  • Israeli Scouts;
  • Temple Sinai;
  • Congregation Mikveh Israel;
  • Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley;  
  • Birthright Israel;
  • Tifereth Israel of Lower Bucks County;
  • Jewish Grad Network of Young Professionals;
  • the Avalon String Band;
  • Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipe and Drum Corps;
  • the Labor Zionist youth group Habonim Dror and Camp Galil;
  • Congregation Beth TIkvah B’nai Jeshurun;
  • Congregation Beth Zion-Beth Israel;
  • J Street;
  • Zionist Organization of America;
  • Gratz College and Jewish Community High School;
  • the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim;
  • Congregation Kol Ami of Elkins Park;
  • Congregation Or Shalom of Berwyn;
  • Congregation Adath Jeshurun and
  • Society Hill Synagogue.

The parade also featured an antique Volkswagen van advertising Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews; an SUV and trailer from the Philadelphia Union soccer team; and a truck and float from

The parade went down Race Street and stopped at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, where the festival took place. The young people from Camp Galil asked the Police and Fire Pipe and Drum Corps to perform “Hava Nagila” on bagpipes, and they joined in a hora circle.

At the festival, agencies and organizations represented were:

  • Shalom Israel Tours,
  • Zionist Organization of America,
  • Nefesh B’Nefesh,
  • Philadelphia Jewish Voice,
  • Friends of the IDF,
  • Holocaust Awareness Museum,
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society,
  • Camp Galil,
  • Philadelphia Phillies and Union,
  • Volunteers for Israel,
  • National Museum of American Jewish History,
  • Kaiserman and Klein Jewish Community Centers,
  • Anti-Defamation League,
  • the Consulate General of Israel/Israeli Ministry of Tourism,
  • El Al Airlines,
  • Pinemere Camp,
  • Camp Harlam, Camp Ramah,
  • Jewish Relief Agency,
  • Einstein Healthcare Network,
  • Gratz College,
  • HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society-Philadelphia),
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Services,
  • Jewish Exponent,
  • Jewish Grad Network of Young Professionals,
  • Jewish Employment and Vocational Services,
  • J Street,
  • American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev,
  • Philadelphia Council of AMIT,
  • B’nai Zion Foundation,
  • Hazon,
  • Brith Shalom,
  • Hosts for Hospitals,
  • Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, and
  • Tikvah/AJMI (Advocates for the Jewish Mentally Ill).

Vendors displayed hand crafted jewelry and soap, ING Financial  Partners, and gifts from Jerusalem. There was sampling of Israeli wines, face painting for kids, demonstrations of the Israeli martial art Krav Maga, Israeli dancing, a caricaturist, the Avalon String Band performing, and palm reading at a Bedouin tent.    

Photos courtesy of the Jewish Exponent.