From the cover of our May 5, 2019 issue: Yosef Jazi and his granddaughter, Ahuva, Yemeni Jews of Elyakim Village, Israel, 1973 (Photo/Nino Herman)
From the cover of our May 5, 2019 issue: Yosef Jazi and his granddaughter, Ahuva, Yemeni Jews of Elyakim Village, Israel, 1973 (Photo/Nino Herman)

Where to celebrate Israel Independence Day around the Bay

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One year after a milestone anniversary, Israel this year is marking its 71st year of existence — and the Bay Area Jewish community is prepared to celebrate. Israel Independence Day falls on May 8-9, and events around the region are scheduled before, during and after those dates. From neon-lit dance parties to choir performances, there are many ways to stand up tall and proud for the blue-and-white. Here are some of the bigger Bay Area Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations.

San Francisco

Saturday | May 11

“Israel in the City 71”—A dance party with music by DJ Niro, with Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails and Israeli snacks. Co-sponsored by Young Adult Division (S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation), Department of Diaspora (World Zionist Organization) and Israeli Culture Center (Oshman Family JCC), with help from promoter Adam Swig. Raffle for a free, round-trip El Al flight to Israel. At Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market St. 8-11 p.m. $25-$30.

Thursday | May 16

“Alternative Independence Day”—A Reboot event with partners such as New Israel Fund, The Kitchen, Moishe House and others. List of seven speakers includes a trans woman Jewish organizer and a rabbi who grew up in L.A.’s Jewish Persian community. Also food, drink and music by DJ Alarm. At the Lab, 2948 16th St. 7-10 p.m. $12-$18.

Peninsula and South Bay

Saturday | May 4

“Shabbat Unplugged: Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration”—Family-friendly and phone-free Shabbat series celebrates Israel’s independence. Petting zoo, arts and crafts, live music by Toby Pechner, cupcake decorating and a pop-up photo booth with Israeli props. At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 3-5:30 p.m. Free; RSVP required.

Thursday | May 9

“Israel Independence Day”—Designed for adults and teens. Includes Israeli buffet dinner followed by live musical performance “Israeli Songs Through the Years” by Aviva Greenberg and Adi Ruppin. Beforehand, there are free, guided tours of an exhibit about IsraAid’s global emergency work: 5:15 p.m. in Hebrew and 6:30 p.m. in English. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 7-9 p.m. $18-$22.

Independence Day with the Peatot—Israeli rock cover band performs. Catering by Oren’s Hummus. All proceeds to Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. At Club Fox, 2209 Broadway, Redwood City. 7:30-11 p.m. $25-$30.

Sunday | May 12

“Yom HaAtzmaut Community Celebration”—The Bay Area’s largest annual Israel Independence Day gathering, with more than 20 organizations involved. For the entire family. With music, dancing, mobile hairstylist and makeup artist, vendors with fare such as Israeli food and kosher baked goods, and a performance by Israeli singer-songwriter-actress Ninet. Special treat for moms on Mother’s Day. At Oshman Family JCC’s Freidenrich Community Park, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 3:30-7:30 p.m. $12-$15, 2-and-under free.

Sunday | May 19

Stanford Yom HaAtzmaut celebration— Israeli folk dancing, DJ and Mediterranean food, including sabich cooking demo. Sunday, May 19 at Hillel at Stanford, 565 Mayfield Ave., Stanford. 4-8 p.m. $10-$20.

East Bay

Sunday | May 5

“Israel Live!”—Hands-on activities exploring Israeli history, society and culture. For kids 3 to 13 and their parents. An Under One Tent event sponsored by Contra Costa JCC and other local Jewish organizations. At Congregation B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek. 10:30 a.m. Free.

Friday | May 10

“Yom HaAtzmaut Shabbat Celebration”—Cantor Leigh Korn leads the adult choir in a performance in the sanctuary. Followed by dessert oneg. An Under One Tent event. At Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. 8 p.m. Free.

North Bay

Sunday | May 19

“Israel: A Sonoma County-Wide Celebration”—Israeli-style brunch buffet followed by Israel photo contest prizes, live Israeli music, and games and activities. Please RSVP for brunch by May 10. For info about photo contest, contact [email protected]. At Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free; brunch $10-$15.


Sunday | May 5

“Israel Through a Different Lens”—Photographer Paul Margolis shares his photos of Israel. With kosher falafel, Israeli dancing and activities for kids. At the Center at Twenty-Three Hundred, 2300 Sierra Blvd., Sacramento. 1-3:30 p.m. Free.