I attended the Celebrate Israel Parade that took place on Manhattan's 5th Avenue, and marched along with my older daughter in the contingent from the youth group Young Judaea. This year we wore a heather gray T-shirt that read "Israel" in blue on the front, and "70" on the back, but I showed up for march formation with a lime-green shirt we wore a few years ago, and Jessica was clad in a red Young Judaea sleep away camp T-shirt. We also had signs and little Israeli flags to wave.

We began our march around 12:30PM, and fortunately there was no rain (a tiny bit of spritz had descended about 45 minutes earlier). We marched behind another youth group and a float that included the funky Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz. Behind us were other Jewish youth organizations. As we marched along I saw some people I knew from various places, and some members of our Brooklyn synagogue the East Midwood Jewish Center had grouped together on the east side of 5th Avenue, near East 67th Street.

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I had fun, and I have attended this parade every year except one, since I was either 10 or 11. To me it is fun, but I also attend because I feel an obligation to show up and show support for Israel, for the Jewish community in general, and also for the local Jewish community. And while attendance overall appeared to be better than last year, when it rained on and off, the attendance still was not that great.


I remember attending this parade in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and even in the earlier 2000s, and seeing many more people on the streets. Why are fewer people attending? A few have confided to me that they are scared there will be a terrorist attack here, and to that I have said, no, it is very safe, stop being so... squeamish. (Nice choice of word.) Some people I knew attended other events, and some apparently are unhappy with the current situation in Israel, so they chose not to attend.

This bothers me, and I think a lot of people in the greater NYC area need to feel a sense of obligation to attend an event such as this. I do know some teens and young adults who marched (one told me she rode on a float!) and I know at least one person who sat in the reviewing stands. But too many of my peers sat out this parade. And I think this is wrong. I am choosing my words carefully, diplomatically, but I think that more Jews should come out to this event, as they had in the past, and cheer on the crowds, cheer on the marchers, and do their best to enjoy a lively and lovely day out.

By the way, I found out from some people who did not march, that I was on at least two different live broadcasts from the Parade! Apparently I was on a live Facebook feed, and also Channel 9 WWOR news. I have to locate these and, ahem, check out my appearance.

Till next year's Parade, huzzah!

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