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Melbourne Celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut in Grand Style

Thousands of local Melbournians celebrated Israel’s 67th birthday last week with two major communal events presented by the Zionist Council of Victoria in partnership with its generous communal and corporate sponsors.

On Wednesday 22 April, the Yom Ha’atzmaut Concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre in Southbank featured a range of Israeli music by some of the community’s top performers and school ensembles, led by music director Adam Starr.

After a moving transition from Yom Hazikaron led by the Zionist Youth Movements, and welcoming remarks from Zionist Council of Victoria President Sam Tatarka and Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, the crowd enjoyed Israeli music from across the decades and genres. MC’s Eli Grynberg and Josh Gurgiel connected the audience to the theme of solidarity with Israel with humorous shticks about Israeli slang and Israeli culture. As always, the youth movements added their great energy to the evening.

On Yom Ha’atzmaut, Thursday afternoon 23 April, the Beth Weizmann Community Centre campus hosted a record crowd of over 2000 for the third annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Family Festival.

The excitement was palpable with attendees arriving early and remaining well after the festival was over to get their balloon creations from balloon artist Irina Mathias. Twenty community organisations offered a range of activities from pita making to face painting, from planting in sand to making sand art in a bottle, from relaxing in a Bedouin tent to playing on Tel Aviv beach.

The main stage included Israeli dancing led by Nirkoda Israeli dance club and singing led by Habayit’s singing group – Shokolad, Menta, Mastik. The youth movements added tremendous ruach (spirit) with singing and dancing throughout the evening.