Jewish Toronto fills Mel Lastman Square for Yom Ha'atzmaut festivities
Approximately 5,000 enthusiastic lovers of Israel filled Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square on Tuesday, April 20 to celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's 62nd birthday.
Those on hand, many carrying Israeli flags, enjoyed great music, including a live concert featuring Jaffa Road -- 2010 Juno nominees for world music album of the year. For the kids in the crowd there was face painting, inflatables and arts & crafts as well as hot dogs, cotton candy, falafel, pizza and popcorn.
The evening was filled with many highlights including intergenerational singing in the lounge area of the square.
From the stage in the square Alan Winer, UJA Federation’s chair, shared his views on the significance of celebrating Israel’s independence.
“I am thrilled and proud to see such a great turnout here today, as we celebrate Israel’s 62nd birthday. Thank you for reaffirming our community’s unbreakable bond with Israel,” he told the crowd. “Anti-Israel forces across the globe question Israel’s right to exist. But your presence at this event, and at the upcoming UJA Walk with Israel on May 30, provides a powerful message of unity and solidarity. On Yom Ha’atzmaut we celebrate Israel’s anniversary, and also her incredible determination to create a thriving, vibrant and democratic nation despite unrelenting challenges. Throughout the world, every Jew can call Israel home. And Israel is so much more than our safe haven. It is a nation of vitality, creativity, ideas and life. In only 62 years, Israel has become a global leader in medicine, science, technology, agriculture, the arts, and much, much more, contributing immeasurably to the entire world. I’m sure you’ll all agree, 62 never looked so good.”
The event would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and hard work of the volunteers and staff of UJA Federation and the Prosserman JCC.