It was 35,000 marchers, 29 floats and 18 marching bands, plus thousands of spectators—and among them were members of , all walking through Manhattan as part of the Celebrate Israel Parade Sunday.
Members of Temple Sholom—as well as other residents of Bridgewater, Bernardsville, Stewartsville and Raritan Township—marched in the parade, carrying banners and showing their support for Israel.
“The Jewish community as a whole looks to support Israel any way we can,” said Helen Rosen, who served as chairwoman for the group heading to the parade from Temple Sholom. “Participating in the parade enables us to visually show that support.”
This was the fifth year members of Temple Sholom have participated in the parade, Rosen said.
“Some years we have had a float and banner, other years just banners,” she said.
This year, Rosen said, walkers carried two banners, one with the saying that “Israel Branches Out”—which was the parade theme—and another that advertised the temple’s sponsor, “Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties.”
“In keeping with this year’s theme, each member of our group wore a yellow hard hat and carried an Israeli flag in one hand and the flag of another nation that Israel has responded to in their time of need,” she said.
Rosen said the members of the group wore matching t-shirts, with different groups in the parade wearing different colors.
“It was beautiful to see the tremendous groups of people clustered in their specific colors, waving the blue and white Israeli flags, singing Hebrew songs and being cheered by flag-waving spectators,” she said. “Not only were the marchers of all ages and denominations, but those watching the parade were also.”
Rosen said the parade began on 57th Street, and continued along Fifth Avenue to the ending point at 74th Street. And at each announcing station, she said, someone would tell the spectators that they were from Temple Sholom in Bridgewater.
“We were sandwiched between politicians, one being Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,” she said. “We waved to Dr. Ruth Westheimer as we passed by a plethora of police and security officers.”
Rosen said the parade draws people of all ages from the northeast, and brings together students from yeshivas, day schools and Hebrew schools, and well as different Jewish organizations and synagogues.
“It was exhilarating to be part of this parade,” she said. “Whatever our differences are in the way we observe or practice our faith, we all agree on our love and support for the State of Israel, the Jewish homeland born from the ashes of the Holocaust.”