May 7, 2018
3,500 Celebrate Israel@70 at Mizner Park Amphitheater
Amid a sea of blue and white, nearly 3,500 local residents and leaders came together in solidarity, spirit and vibrant Jewish diversity to celebrate the 70th anniversary – and the miracles - of the modern State of Israel. The enthusiastic crowd was transported to the sights, sounds and tastes of Israel, right in Mizner Park Amphitheater on April 18, as Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day) transitioned into Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day). By far the area’s largest Jewish event of the year, Israel Fest was presented by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, with its Judi & Allan Schuman Center for Israel Engagement and Deborah & Larry D. Silver Center for Jewish Engagement, and chaired by Debra and Larry Halperin.
The free community-wide celebration engaged all ages and stages of life, beginning with an array of activities including a PJ Library® Fun Zone for families and a showcase of 30 local Jewish synagogues, schools, agencies and organizations. Onstage, rousing speeches from Honorary Chairs Judi and Allan Schuman and Federation Campaign Chair Larry Feldman, Board Chair Anne Jacobson and President & CEO Matt Levin were followed by stirring remarks from Lior Haiat, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico.
A moving, multimedia Israel Memorial Day candle lighting ceremony was led by students from Jewish day schools and youth groups. Then, at sundown, the jubilant Israel Independence Day festivities began with upbeat music, flashing lights and the evening’s highlight - a colorful parade of students from all the local synagogues and day schools with flags, banners, and more. A concert from Jewish World Music band, The Shuk, closed the joyous evening of Jewish unity for Israel, enlivening many in the crowd to sing and dance along.
Squire Patton Boggs was the generous Israel Fest Presenting Sponsor. Corporate Sponsors included Boca Raton Regional Hospital, BNY Wealth Management, Hotwire Communications and Polen Capital. The event’s media sponsors were ESPN West Palm, The Florida Jewish Home and WLRN Public Media. Corporate Partners included Silverstein HR; Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith; and Morgan Stanley/The Popper Group. The PJ Fun Zone is generously sponsored by Smiles by Dr. W & Dr. R Quality Orthodontics and Florida Blue.