Tidewater celebrates Israel@75 with high spirits

by | May 18, 2023 | Trending News

Tidewater’s annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration took place on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community on Sunday, April 30. This year’s event celebrated 75 years since the establishment of the modern state of Israel. Despite the rainy weather, close to 2,000 people gathered to celebrate Israel@75, making it a resounding success. The day was hosted by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC.

While the weather forced the event to move inside, it did not dampen anyone’s spirits. The Simon Family JCC was buzzing with energy and excitement as all ages gathered to take part in myriad activities. Children enjoyed face painting, balloon art, giant inflatables, and Israel trivia, while adults consumed falafel and shawarma, shared drinks in the Nadiv Beer Garden, and indulged in faux henna tattoos in a Bedouin tent. The Israel photo booth and a green screen loaded with photos from Israel provided the perfect opportunity for everyone to capture their memories of the day.

One of the event’s highlights was the participation of all area synagogues, Jewish organizations, and agencies – each bringing their unique activities, Judaica, and food to sell. This created a sense of community and solidarity.

Through a partnership with the Portsmouth Jewish Museum and Cultural Center, a timeline outlined the past 150 years of Jewish history in Tidewater, juxtaposed with the historical events in Israel. The display provided an excellent opportunity for viewers of the timeline to learn more about the rich history of Jewish Tidewater.

In addition, Ben Peter of The PhotoHouse, shared his grandfather Rudi Weissenstein’s life work.  Weissenstein was a prominent Israeli photographer who documented Israel’s early years. His work has been internationally recognized. Surrounded by his grandfather’s photographs, Peter engaged community members, lay leaders, and elected officials in conversations about the importance of preserving Israel’s story.

As Tidewater celebrated Israel’s 75th birthday, the diversity that makes Israel so beautiful was reflected on the Sandler Family Campus with people from all backgrounds, faiths, and ethnicities gathered to celebrate Israel’s independence and culture.

 –UJFT Programs Department