Tidewater to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut: Israel’s 73rd Independence Day

by | Jul 26, 2021 | What’s Happening

Originally published in the April 12, 2021 issue.

Sunday, April 18, Sandler Family Campus

Drive-Through celebration, 12–2:30 pm, free, limited tickets


Drive-In Movie, 8 pm, $12 per person, limited tickets 


Yom Ha’atzmaut, also known as Israel Independence Day, is an opportunity for the community to come together this year to celebrate the Jewish state in fun and safe ways.

Israel’s 73rd anniversary arrives when so many people have spent a year sheltered in place in their homes and are now ready to move about. To meet the desire to get out on a spring day, while remaining COVID-safe, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC are presenting a ‘drive through’ of Israel—bringing the richness of Israel life home to Tidewater.

This Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration promises to surprise participants with its creative and festive atmosphere. Plus, since everyone remains comfortably in their vehicle, “no passport is needed to explore this Israel experience!” say the event’s planners.

For Families:

Drive-Through Israel: A Community Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebration, 12–2:30pm

Families will be provided everything needed for a drive through tour of Israel. The event is designed for participants to encounter the highlights of a trip to Israel, without ever leaving Virginia or their car.

Participants will get a taste of Jerusalem by placing a note in the Western Wall and haggling at the Shuk. Swimming with the fish in Eilat, catching up with the hipsters in Tel Aviv, and enjoying Bedouin hospitality in a desert tent are stops along the way. There’s also an opportunity to swing by a kibbutz to learn about community, ecology, and small farming. Then, on the way out, everyone gets to drive by Lake Kinneret’s bicycle path and check out the sights. Don’t miss this moving Israeli experience!

Registration includes a timed ticket. All cars must enter the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus within 30 minutes of the reservation time. Reservations are required and must be made online.

Parents or grandparents are welcome to purchase an add-on Date Night Box. The box will include snacks, an Israeli game, and tickets to a virtual showing of Aulcie. Boxes can be picked up when exiting the drive through tour of Israel.

For more information or to reserve tickets to travel through Israel, visit
Jewishva.org/IsraelFest or contact Dave Flagler, director of Camp and Teen Engagement, at dflagler@ujft.org.

For Adults: 

Drive-In Movie: Aulcie

Parking begins at 6:30 pm
Film starts at 8 pm, includes snacks

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC’s Patricia & Avraham Ashkenazi and Alma & Howard Laderberg’s 28th annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film presents Aulcie.

An inspiring film, Aulcie tells the story of Aulcie Perry, a remarkable athlete who captured the spirit of a nation, triumphant and victorious against all odds, and put Israel on the map. This movie has mature themes and is appropriate for adults.

Fun, kosher, Israeli movie snacks are included with the purchase of a ticket for the Drive-In. Tickets are $12 per person.

Aulcie will also be available to view virtually beginning April 18 for 72 hours. $12 per household.

For more information or to register, visit JewishVA.org/FilmFest or contact Jill Grossman, director, Arts + Ideas, at jgrossman@ujft.org or 757-965-9134.