This Sunday, June 5, the Salute to Israel Parade will take place, which was recently renamed the Celebrate Israel Parade and for some reason is known by most people as the "Israel(i?) Day Parade." The Parade takes place every year on Fifth Avenue in NYC. There are so many reasons that I look forward to the parade each year. The obvious reason is that it is so heartwarming to see so many Jews walking down Fifth Avenue to show their love and support for Israel. But it is more than that. The parade is not only a chance to show pride in Israel, but is a chance to show pride in our Judaism. I love the feeling of unity that exists when different Jews from different places with different beliefs gather together for one thing that we all believe in. We take a day to throw our differences aside and gather together marching on a busy street in a busy city in a non-Jewish country with smiles on our faces sending the message, "I am proud to be a Jew!"
As much as I had fun marching in the parade for many years, watching the parade is possibly even more fun. It is fascinating to see the different schools, shuls, and organizations, many of which I had no idea even existed, with their different t-shirt designs and their interesting bands, musicians, dancers, banners, and floats. I love the kids who smile those big smiles as they hear the crowd cheering them on.
The only other time that I have been in a place- indoors or outdoors- with so many other Jews, is at rallies. But this time, instead of rallying together, we celebrate together. In the parade, we celebrate being able to live in and visit our homeland. We show our support for Israel. And despite our differences we gather together and shout to the world, "We are proud to be Jews!"
For those of you who cannot make it to the parade, you can watch the parade here live on Sunday, June 5 from 12pm-2pm.