Thousands to Celebrate at IsraelFest in Mizner Park on May 17 with Free Concert, Family Fun & More
Amid a sea of blue and white, thousands of South Palm Beach County residents of all ages will once again stand together in solidarity and spirit; showcase our vibrant, diverse Jewish community; hear top quality live music and dignitaries; and enjoy family fun – at IsraelFest. Joyous yet profound, this year’s free community-wide celebration of the State of Israel will again be held at Mizner Park Amphitheatre, on Sunday, May 17, starting at 3:00 pm. With a lineup led by Josh Nelson & Neshama Carlbach, two superstars of Jewish music, the ruach from IsraelFest 2015 will radiate from Downtown Boca Raton across the community and around the world. And this year the event even includes a free visit to an Israeli art exhibit. The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County invites EVERYONE to join in!
The event offers the community a remarkable opportunity to hear, free of charge, the acclaimed, unprecedented collaboration of Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson. In English and Hebrew, they create a unique, powerful sound that builds on their musical and spiritual mentors, Debbie Friedman and Neshama’s father Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Neshama, has performed worldwide including on Broadway, was a six-time entrant in the 2011 Grammy Awards, and has sold more than one million records. Also world-renowned, the classically trained Josh Nelson is equally versed in rock, jazz and world music. High energy and deeply moving, his performances are said to “build community as they lift up audiences together.” He was recently hailed by Time Magazine as a “star of the New Jewish Music.”
“For a few hours, we’ll be transported to the sights, sounds and tastes of Israel,” said Jill Rose, Co-Chair of the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council. “Thousands from all elements of our Jewish community and people of all faiths who support our homeland have gathered for our Federation’s powerful Israel celebrations in previous years, and 2015 should be no exception. South Palm Beach County will once again demonstrate that we are united in recognizing the vital importance of the ties between Israel and the United States, and in celebrating how much Israel has achieved in such a short period of time.”
The program will start at 4:00 pm, but the “doors open” at 3:00 with family activities just east of the Amphitheater, and live music by bands from Donna Klein Jewish Academy and Weinbaum Yeshiva High School. A petting zoo, face painting, sports, and more fun & games will be presented until 6:00 pm by PJ Library® in South Palm Beach County – an engagement program through which thousands of local families raising Jewish children through age 8 receive free books and music each month made possible by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Kosher food will be available for purchase, and browsers will be able to learn more about the Jewish community.
The formal program at 4:00 pm will mark the occasion with the first act of entertainment - Kosher Rock, a Jewish band that cites the towering figures of the rock world as their musical influences, then mixes in “positive spiritual content and a hint of Mediterranean and Hassidic influence” for their unique sound. Chaim Schacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, and other dignitaries will offer brief remarks, and children from local schools and synagogues will lead the American and Israeli national anthems. As the event will take place on Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, a special ceremony will commemorate Jerusalem's reunification achieved during the Six-Day War in 1967.
“I look forward to standing proudly with South Palm Beach County at IsraelFest,” said Chaim Schacham. “Together, we can be proud that our homeland values freedom, justice, and peace. Israel is a bastion of democracy and human dignity in a region sorely lacking these, a nation that, despite challenges, has a vibrant society and economy, one which excels in science, medicine, agriculture and the arts. We are also a nation that remembers how grateful we are to the support of the US and the world Jewish community. It is this special friendship which helps keep us both safe and prosperous.”
The public is also invited to tour, free of charge, a survey of work by a prominent Israeli-born artist. Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil has been held over for IsraelFest by the Boca Raton Museum of Art, right next to the Amphitheatre. The work “fills the Museum's gallery space with spectacular mural-size paintings on tulle fabric… Grand, labyrinthine, yet surprisingly intimate… resplendent with personal narrative, political metaphor, and myth emphasizing memory, loss, love, and exile.”
“We’re thrilled to be bringing the whole community together to celebrate Israel’s remarkable 67th anniversary of statehood,” said Matthew C. Levin, the Federation’s President & CEO. “Together we’ll remember the miracle of this pioneering nation, and pay tribute to its phenomenal, rapid transformation into today’s creative, dynamic, culturally vibrant, democratic State of Israel at the cutting edge of technology, research and entrepreneurship. We’re proud of our Federation’s longstanding efforts to support and sustain our homeland where Jewish people from all over the world continue to seek prosperity and peace, and invite everyone to join us in this celebration and commemoration.”
Lawn chairs, picnic baskets and strollers are welcome, with limited seating available. The event will take place rain or shine. Complimentary self-parking will be available, with early arrival recommended. More information is posted at jewishboca.org/israelfest.
The generous Presenting Sponsor for IsraelFest 2015 sponsor list is BB&T, and the Patron Sponsor is Squire Patton Boggs. Supporting Sponsors are Assisting Hands Home Care, Critter Control, Greenbrier, Hotwire Communications, Sunstates Security and Waterstone Resort & Marina. Free admission to the Israeli art exhibit is presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council of South Palm Beach County and sponsored by Polen Capital. Boca Raton Magazine is IsraelFest 2015’s Exclusive Magazine Sponsor.