For the 4,000 people who attended the Sydney Yom Haatzmaut celebration organised by the NSW State Zionist Council, it was a great day. Being at Randwick racecourse, people may have bet on the weather – it was glorious.
What were the personal highlights? The concert, MC’d by Geoff Sirmai, would have to be my favourite, where the school and adult choirs, solo performers and small groups, celebrated Israel with new and classical songs. The school-age performers reinforced that the future is bright! J-Wire has some good footage here.
Since the theme was “100 years of Kibbutz“, there was plenty of hay around, and an exhibition of old photos from kibbutz life. “Draining the swamps” was a memorable photo, since my grandmother growing up in Israel had experienced rheumatic fever from being around the malarial swamps. Also, in the kibbutz-themed tent, Dr Tamara Levine gave a fascinating talk on “Literature of the Kibbutz”.
One new stand was KEVA (Kibbutz Ex-Volunteer Association), which was founded in 2000 by a group of local ex kibbutz volunteers with the idea of building stronger and personal personal relations between Australia and Israel. As their website says here “KEVA is based on human friendship, which we believe is the underlying force of goodwill between societies. Today, KEVA is the home of the Israel-Australia community in Wollongong. In addition to its social character, KEVA promotes Israeli culture in the wider region.”
Besides some great photos of the group in Woollongong (look at their great website, with its kibbutz links), their stand had fun hebrew letter blocks that mentioned the variety of kibbutzim that their members had been too. It’s a welcome reminder of how memorable Kibbutz experience can be for non-Jewish as well as Jewish volunteers, with long-lasting positive effect.
The organisation Bridges for Peace also had a stand, with dedicated people and excellent information. National Director Keith Buxton had come especially for the event from the Gold Coast. It was a reminder of the important role played by Christians such as Lord Balfour and the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, prior to formation of Israel, and their ongoing vital role in support of Israel.
Shir Madness is the name of the upcoming Jewish Music Festival slated for the Bondi Pavilion on Sunday August 15. They had a musical information stand at the Yom Haatzmaut celebration. With over 35 musical acts planned for 4 stages with a wide variety of musical styles, it should be a great day/night. An article about the Festival is here and their preliminary website is here.
I was provided with a reminder of Israel’s traffic by 3 goes on the Bumper “Dodge um” Cars, followed by a Felafel – appropriately in that order.
So Yom Haatzmaut was a most successful day for Sydney to celebrate Israels’ 62nd birthday. Contratulations to Aviva Kogus from the NSW State Zionist Council and her committee of helpers.
… and the fireworks at the end were great. If you want to write in with any other personal highlights, feel free.
.. J-wire describes the moving Yom Hazikaron evening held in Sydney
.. J-wire also has an article about the successful and very well-attended concert for Yom Haatzmaut in Melbourne here, as well as Yom Hazikaron, together with excerpts from the speeches from Danny Lamm, President of the Zionist Council of Victoria.