Lets celebrate Jerusalem

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This time, when hundreds of Bay Area Jews come together, there will be no solemn speeches or candlelight vigils.

There will be no Kaddish recitation.

Instead, on Sunday we will delight.

Children will craft dreidels. Families will sample falafel and hummus. And the songs of David Broza — billed as an Israeli Springsteen — will fill the air surrounding the Jerusalem 3000 festivities at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens.

Over the past year, attacks in northern Israel, a series of terrorist bombings and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin have brought Jews out in record numbers to mourn.

But we must also take time to sing, to dance, to celebrate. Jerusalem in the Gardens provides a welcome opportunity.

Wherever you stand on Israel's election, let Sunday be a day for spirited debate and discussion, for the exchange of ideas. But don't miss this chance to connect with Bay Area Jews in a day filled with spirit.

Jerusalem in the Gardens also doubles this year as San Francisco's annual Israel Independence Day celebration. It's a way to support not only an ancient city and a local tradition, but a political reality that some still view as a miracle.

Wherever you stand on the politics of the Jewish state, Sunday offers a chance to relish 3,000 years' worth of accomplishments and to revel in almost 50 years of autonomy.

So take the time to soak up the ambiance of the City of Gold. View art and poetry written by Bay Area children, lifelike facsimiles of the Gates of Jaffa, white-tented booths and even the real-live camel that will transform Yerba Buena Gardens into King David's city.

Sip a Turkish coffee, make a friend, learn the words to "Hatikva," plant a tree in Jerusalem, but come.

Come in costume. Come with messages for your own Web page. Come with a sense of adventure. It's time to celebrate.