It’s Time to Celebrate Israel

By: Barry Shrage, President of CJP

On May 31, we’ll transform the beautiful campus of Gann Academy in Waltham into “Celebrate Israel: Boston,” a day-long festival that will thrill the thousands of us in New England who love Israel.

This is an exciting and festive reason to get together and explore all that is Israel – the music, food, culture, and even the camels!

Celebrate Israel: Boston has been a year-long planning process. The amazing events team at CJP has been absolutely at the top of their game and has organized this massive undertaking along with their regular schedule of events large and small.


I’m personally grateful to the incredible staff and committee who are putting together this celebration, which promises to be the biggest party for Israel in New England’s history. Our events team has worked tirelessly and so have our volunteers, including our chairs, David and Rachel Fine, Daniel and Wendy Kraft and Sharon Mishkin and Mark Rosenzweig. They are joined by a whole host of honorary committee members and community partners, all of whom can be seen here.

The task of transforming a school campus into “Israel on the Atlantic” has taken extraordinary efforts and will involve every one of my colleagues at CJP. The event is presented by CJP and Israeli-American Council, in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel to New England. We’ll be joined by dozens of local organizations, Jewish day schools, synagogues and others who will all put their stamp on this fantastic celebration.

It’s all going to be worth it. Many times in the past we have come together to mourn, to pray for peace to support our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Each time, I said how much I regret having to get together for the purpose of mourning and to rally for Israel’s cause.

But, on May 31, it is the time to rejoice, to celebrate, to dance, to sing, to enjoy what we can bring from Israel to our neck of the woods after a long and hard winter.

There will be a whole variety of ways to join in. There is a life-sized foosball game. Ethnix, a celebrated Israeli pop-rock band, will play on the main stage. Julian Edelman, the New England Patriots wide receiver, whose glorious 51-yard pass in the playoffs against the Ravens will be etched in my mind forever, will make an appearance. Food trucks will feature Israeli specialties, and of course, the best falafel sandwich to be had west of Tel Aviv.  We’re even bringing camels!

There’s so much to celebrate and so much to be grateful for.

And if the day of Israeli culture, food and entertainment isn’t enough and you need more Israel, check in at the El Al tent and sign up for a  chance to win a pair of roundtrip tickets to Israel! Israel’s national carrier announced recently that Boston would be the third metro area in the United States to have a nonstop flight to Tel Aviv.

It has been a long hard winter but now it's time to celebrate! It has been a long hard winter for Israel as well with plenty of reasons for concern. It’s sometimes too easy to forget that, more than anything else, Israel is the source of our joy, filled with the promise of redemption.

So it is our joy to come together with our families, our children, our grandchildren, to celebrate Israel with love and with gladness.

It goes without saying that the most important part of this celebration is you – and your friends, parents, children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and community. Tickets are $5 before May 30 and can be purchased easily online. Tickets on the day of the event are $10. I strongly encourage you to buy your tickets in advance, not just to save money, but to skip the ticket line.

And when you’re there, Tweet, Facebook and Instagram your photos. Be sure to use the hashtag for the day, #IsraelDayBOS in your tweets and posts so we can see everyone’s comments and photos during and after the event.

Join me! I’ll be flying to Israel just a few days later and I want to bring to our friends in Haifa greetings and pictures of our community and our celebration! I very much look forward to seeing you on May 31 at Gann!

Barry Shrage

About the Author

A passionate advocate for Jews in Greater Boston and around the world, CJP President Barry Shrage has worked tirelessly to create an inclusive community and drive positive change.

CJP welcomes an open dialogue!  Please refer to our policy for more information.


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