Party Time

May 1, 2014
BY Allie Freedman
Baltimore communities throwing Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations

050214_israel-dayIsrael is turning 66, and you are invited to the party.

From feasting on falafel to bopping to Israeli beats, Jewish organizations across the area want you to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day in style at Yom Ha’atzmaut events next week.

Fells Point’s contemporary bar, Vale Tudo, will be decked out in blue and white on Monday, May 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for Israel@66, the third annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Party sponsored by Bnei Israel Young Adults. Located at 702 S. Broadway, the party will feature Israeli music, happy-hour specials and lite Mediterranean fare. The event has a $5 cover charge with all proceeds donated to a charity of the attendees’ choice.

“The primary goal of the event is to engage Jewish young professionals downtown to celebrate Israel’s birthday,” said BIYA president Sara Brandenburg. “We aim for the event to be a nonpolitical way for young adults to come together to celebrate Israel.”

Joined by partnering organizations Beyond Birthright, Moishe House Baltimore, Charm City Tribe and the Baltimore Zionist District, the party will bring together young Jewish adults from all over the city to commemorate Israel’s birthday, said Brandenburg. “Every year, we hope that our partnerships will grow and develop. The event is a downtown communal effort to engage Jewish young adults and remind people about Yom Ha’atzmaut. We also hope it will lead to discussion and a desire to seek a way to connect to Israel that is right for them.”

Charm City Tribe program associate and Beyond Birthright committee member Ellie Brown played a major role in setting up the event. With strong ties to two participating organizations, she has promoted the event to the larger Baltimore community.

“By throwing this party and combining different Jewish organizations together for one night, you build a strong Jewish community,” said Brown. “You are introduced to different Jewish organizations that are committed to creating a space for you to engage more deeply in Jewish life as a young adult.”

Moishe House, a hub for young Jewish life internationally, is encouraging its Baltimore branch members to attend the event and expand their circles within the Jewish community.

“Yom Ha’atzmaut is an important day for Jews to celebrate,” said Moishe House member Vadim Kashtelyan. “It is great to get the entire spectrum of
Judaism — Orthodox, Conservative and Reform — to rejoice together and celebrate Israel.”

On Tuesday, May 6, Ohr Chadash Academy is hosting an evening of Israeli songs, dances, plays and flag throwing. Located at the Jewish Community Center in Park Heights, the 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. event will feature presentations from every grade at the academy. Focusing on the development of Zionism, the celebration will feature music, a short play, a stomp by middle school boys and a performance by the Daglanut middle school girls’ flag corps. With last year’s event topping 350 guests, this year’s theme showcases the birth of Israel from the state’s beginnings to modern times.

“Ohr Chadash believes in the religious significance of the modern State of Israel and encourages our students to build a relationship with the people in Eretz Yisrael and with the land,” said media marketing committee chair and board member Terri Rosen. “At school, the day is filled with learning about Israel’s history, culture, people and food.”

The Yom Ha’atzmaut event, she said, is “a wonderful, fun way” to get the students excited about celebrating Israel’s birthday.

“They spend weeks preparing for Yom Ha’atzmaut, learning the songs and dances, and they look forward to presenting [them] to the community.”

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