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May 12, 2011 11:38 am

Israel Celebrates Sixty Three! (PHOTOS)

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Celebration in Times Square: Dor Chadash and the celebration of Israel's independence lit up the night. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

In Israel, a nation stopped, came to its feet and stood in silence mourning, remembering and commemorating those who have fallen to protect the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, and Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, were observed sequentially, May 9 and 10.

In New York, Israel’s Consul General Ido Aharoni addressed a standing room only crowd at “B. B. Kings”, reminding all of the “three components of the Jewish life cycle that made us as one people.” He recalled the days of tribute paid to those who perished and those who survived the holocaust, those who sacrificed to create and keep safe the State of Israel and all who celebrate that creation. Remembrance, he said “eliminates all differences, fills all gaps and bridges all differences, bringing us together as one people.” Reminding all to remember and celebrate the 22, 867 lives that have been sacrificed, the Consul General said that “even in their deaths they order us to live – to bring life to a nation that preserves the unique spirit of our people.”

Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York spoke of the Jewish people's ability to seek life. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Introducing Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn, Aya Schecter, Executive Director of Dor Chadash noted that the Speaker has experienced the realities of life in Israel, having had to take shelter when missiles fell during her visit to S’derot.  Quinn, who has been in Israel three times, marveled at the ability of Israelis to dig out the remains of a missile, bring them to a depot, and go back to their lives – actions that “send a message to the world that though Israelis may live with terror, they will not live in terror…We will never move backward – only forward – when it comes to Israel.”

A ceremony that included moving words from across the generations and musical tributes to those lost commemorated the lives of all who have sacrificed for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. With the singing of Hatikvah, the national anthem expressing eternal hope, the celebrations began.

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Joy and  l’chiam – to life – became the theme of the evening. Throughout the area, Israelis and those who support the Jewish States partied.  At clubs and synagogues, in homes and restaurant, schools and Jewish centers, music and dance. Blue and white was clearly the dominant theme, expressed in flags of every size, balloons and donuts, cupcakes and dress.  Young – and not so young – simply “enjoyed.”

The leadership of Dor Chadash, from left, Unknown, Ran Fuchs, President of Dor Chadash, Ambassador Reuben, Alon Harnoy and Ofer Vibenka. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Rekindling the Flame: Soldiers and civilians, protectors and victims, together commemorated the heroes who have perished. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

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