Celebrations in Birmingham and New Orleans will salute Israel’s 64th birthday this month.
In Birmingham, the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Israel Connections Committee and the Levite Jewish Community Center will present a community celebration on April 22 at the soccer field. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a parade and other family activities, including inflatable rides, face painting and more.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., refreshments and picnic dinners will be available for purchase, catered by Sababa restaurant. Local jazz musician Eric Essix will perform at 6 p.m.
Essix was part of a Birmingham sister cities delegation that traveled to Rosh Ha’Ayin and Karak, Jordan, last May in a cultural exchange. Essix performed at the opening night of the Sister City International Music Festival in Rosh Ha’Ayin and taught several classes at the city’s music conservatory. At the festival, conservatory director Meir Srouya had Essix perform with five other musicians who had not even rehearsed together before, to demonstrate how music can communicate across great divides.
For the last several years, Rosh Ha’Ayin has tried to establish itself as Israel’s music city. Essix said he was impressed by the passion and interest the students had in music. He will speak about his experiences as part of the April 22 event.
“The community leaders and teachers impressed me the most,” Essix said. “The mayor of Rosh Ha’Ayin is totally committed to the concept of promoting music as a core component in the development of young people and the overall culture in his community. “
In New Orleans, the Uptown Jewish Community Center will hold this year’s celebration on April 25 from 5:45 to 9 p.m. The event is themed “The Sounds and Taste of Tel Aviv.” There will be a range of Israeli foods and an art market. As part of the celebration, “Hebrew Jazz” from Rosh Ha’Ayin, in town for JazzFest, will perform. Rosh Ha’Ayin is New Orleans’ Partnership 2Gether community.
The evening gets underway with a reception starting at 5:45 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m., the New Orleans Rabbinical Council will lead a community memorial service for Israeli soldiers who died in combat. The celebration will then be underway at 6:30 p.m.
This mirrors how the days are observed in Israel, with Israel’s Memorial Day leading into Independence Day.