This Sunday, a bit of Israel will be coming to Pembroke Pines.
For the second year, the Israeli American Council will host the Celebrate Israel Festival and transform C.B. Smith Park into a mini-Israel. It’s one of several festivals held across the nation throughout May to celebrate Israeli Independence Day on April 23.
“My vision is to create a showcase, for the community to come, be together and celebrate Israel,” said Nir Lerman, the regional director for the Israeli American Council.
That vision includes mini replicas of a Tel Aviv beach and Jerusalem marketplace, traditional Israeli activities like folk dancing and backgammon, and enough kosher Israeli street food to feed thousands. There will also be performances from Israeli rock band Mashin and other artists.
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“It is very important for us who moved here,” Lerman said. “Each one of us, we have part of Israel with us, and on this day, we want to celebrate with the community.”
About 2,000 tickets have already been sold for the event, which attracted 10,000 people last year.
The highlight, organizers expect, will be a wooden and foam replica of the Western Wall, the temple wall in Jerusalem where people leave notes and prayers. Any messages left in the replica wall Sunday will eventually be brought to Jerusalem.
“We believe because of the holiness of the place, God will listen to the prayers,” said Rabbi Yehuda Kornfeld of Masoret Yehudit, a Jewish Day School in Hallandale Beach.
Kornfeld, who coordinated the transportation of roughly 2,000 letters last year, said the event, and the Wall in particular, give people who haven’t visited Israel a chance to connect with the country.
“Just seeing it will connect people to the holiest place in the world for Jews today,” he said. “It’s a great thing.”
If you go
- What: Celebrate Israel Festival
- When: From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
- Where: C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Road
- Cost: Tickets in advance are $10; $15 at the door
- For information: Visit http://www.celebrateisraelfestival.com/Florida/en/ or call 954-874-0777 ext 102