Israelis display their nation's flag as they revel in Independence Day celebrations, May 8, 2019. (Photo/Hadas Parush-Flash90)
Israelis display their nation's flag as they revel in Independence Day celebrations, May 8, 2019. (Photo/Hadas Parush-Flash90)

Local and global online events for Israel’s Independence Day

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Even with California sheltering in place and Israel just now loosening its strict lockdown, local and global celebrations of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, are going ahead virtually, from a party featuring Matisyahu to a stuffed animal parade for children.

The week’s events begin today on a somber note with Yom HaZikaron, honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. At 5:30 p.m. PST, the Israeli American Council will hold a memorial ceremony with Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. A local Hebrew-language ceremony will be held at 8 p.m., presented by the Oshman Family JCC; viewers are invited to light candles at home.

On Tuesday at 11 a.m. PST, Friends of the IDF will host a virtual Yom HaZikaron memorial in English.

As the commemorations end Tuesday at sundown, Independence Day celebrations kick off in Israel and Jewish communities worldwide.

On Wednesday at 9 a.m. PST, Friends of the IDF will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut with a program that includes Israel’s Eurovision representative, IDF soldier Corp. Eden Alene, who will perform with the IDF Ensemble.

The Jewish Agency and 10 other organizations will host a daylong, blow-out party that includes a performance by singer Matisyahu and appearances by “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt, celebrity chef Adeena Sussman and other notables, plus a dance party. Festivities begin Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PST.

For music lovers, musician Kami Maltz will perform Israeli classics in a Yom HaAtzmaut concert presented by the Jewish Federations of North America. Or you can hear Ethiopian funk by the Anbessa Orchestra, courtesy of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation.

If you’ve got small kids, join PJ Library, Peninsula JCC and Peninsula Temple Beth El for a story time and “stuffy parade” in honor of Israel’s independence. Bring a stuffed animal to this Zoom meet-up and let them sing along, hear stories and watch a puppet show by PJCC’s Jeni Markowitz Clancy.

Because people can’t come together to celebrate in person, the OFJCC team is making it happen through a virtual collage. They are collecting people’s funniest and most playful photos from trips to Israel, or merely dressed up in blue and white, to show their love for Israel. Photos can be shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and should be tagged @ofjcc to be included in the collage.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.