As an Israeli-American Jew living the Diaspora, I have an undying urge to remain connected to my roots. I never want to be the Jew who stands alone. As a young adult living in Baltimore, I feel very fortunate to be part of a thriving community of other young adults who feel the same way I do. Being in this company truly makes me feel Jewish.
As a community, we have much to celebrate. I am not referring to the holidays, but rather the place for which all of us feel deeply connected, the place that all of us can call our home away from home. For the American Jew, Israel is the ultimate community. Her existence, her persev- erance and her achievements instill a sense of pride in all of us. And, as with any worthy accomplishments, we honor and recognize them.
This year, Israel turns 65. This milestone is an opportunity for our community to gather and take pride in the country that embraces us all, the country that defines our identity as Jews.
For the past six months, I, alongside many other Jewish organizations in the area, have been working hard to put together a worthy celebration for this special birthday. Sponsored by the Baltimore Israel Coalition, an all-day festival will be held June 2 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC; this event will feature everything that is Israel. You can eat great Israeli-style food, buy art from Israeli artists, learn about many of Israel’s innovations in technology and listen to great music from Matisyahu. More importantly, you, your family and your friends can spend a day connecting with Baltimore’s Jewish community.
As a young adult in this community, I want to extend a very special invitation to all the other young Jewish adults in Baltimore. Join us in raising a glass to Israel! On the day
of the festival, there will be a free wine-tasting event for young adults — from 3 to 4 p.m. — in the Performa space at the Rosenbloom JCC. We will be featuring some delicious wines from Israel, music, volunteer opportunities to connect with Israeli soldiers and lots of good company.
I do not want to be a Jew who stands alone. So join me, and be a part of our community. Let us remind ourselves how important it is to reinforce our Jewish identity by taking part in communal events. Israel’s 65th birthday celebration is an event that you do not want to miss. I look forward to seeing you there.
Michal Balass is co-chair of the Israel65. Celebrate! young adult committee. To purchase tickets to the Matisyahu concert and to register for the young adult wine tasting, visit baltimoreisraelcoalition.org.