Israel’s 74th celebration is a day to remember in Tidewater

by | May 19, 2022 | Featured

Thousands of people visited the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community for a celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut on Sunday, May 1. The Israel Independence Day celebration was the first large-scale in-person event for the holiday since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no replacement for the feeling of community we have when we can gather everyone in person,” says Nofar Trem, youth and family program coordinator at United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The festival, which is one of the largest gatherings for Tidewater’s Jewish community, included activities for adults and children alike, as well as food by Israel’s Meat Carneval, games, food, and informational booths hosted by area synagogues, businesses, and the Embassy of Israel to the United States, among others. 

“It felt like our entire Tidewater Jewish community was together in one place,” says Shikma Rubin. “The Sandler Family Campus felt alive and it was a special day for our family to celebrate Israel in a fun and meaningful way.”

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC are grateful to the individual and corporate sponsors whose generous partnership helped make this year’s event such a wonderful success.

Special thanks to: Avraham and Karen Ashkenazi, Zim American Integrated Shipping, Mercedes-Benz of Virginia Beach, Harbor Group International, Dominion Energy, Children’s Hospital of The Kings Daughters, International Longshoreman’s Association, Centura College, Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy, Fairlead, ROX—Rapid Overland Express, Savor the Olive, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods.

“It was wonderful to welcome friends of many faiths and backgrounds to join us, to greet new and familiar faces, and to celebrate the state of Israel in such a monumental way. I’m already looking forward to next year,” says Trem.

The annual celebration of Israel will take place next year on Sunday, April 30, as Israel turns 75.

Hunter Thomas is director of Arts & Ideas at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. He can be reached at

Hunter Thomas