Students strut their school pride at opening parade

Hundreds of Jewish students from around the Bay Area will open “Israel in the Ballpark” in grand style with a salute to the Holy Land. Akin to the opening parade of athletes at the Olympic Games, the Salute to Israel parade will be the highlight of the day’s opening ceremonies.

More than 25 Jewish day schools, congregational schools and chavurot will participate in the parade. The students, carrying large banners and singing “Havenu Shalom,” will march around the playing field, along with teachers and administrators from their respective schools, as a way to show their support of the state of Israel on the 56th anniversary of her independence.

The idea for the parade came about in a meeting among Israel in the Ballpark planners some months ago. With 2004 being the year for the Summer Olympics, volunteer Rhoda Wolfe and event director Caron Tabb hit upon the idea of an opening event parade.

Irwin Bear, a longtime supporter of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, has again stepped up to the plate by having his company, P & B Textiles, provide more than 60 yards of fabric for the schools to make their banners. Goodman’s Hardware in Marin County provided 100 wooden dowels to carry the banners. “There’s now enough material to make banners for the next two years of ‘Israel in the Ballpark,'” says Wolfe.

“It will be a visually stunning and emotionally stirring display of support for Israel,” she exclaims. “With so many young Jewish students participating, we promise an unforgettable experience for all.”

Israel in the Ballpark