Following last year's phenomenal inaugural celebration, the Upper West Side is coming together again to celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. Synagogues, schools, and Jewish organizations are sponsoring events throughout the Upper West Side celebrating the rich and complex culture, history, and people of Israel. Events begin on Sunday, May 4 and culminate in a community-wide celebration on Tuesday, May 6.

Convened by The JCC in Manhattan in collaboration with and funded by UJA-Federation of New York. All Sunday and Monday events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Learn more about the events and register below.

The Hudson River becomes the Tel Aviv Tayelet (promenade) as the whole Upper West Side community comes together to celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut. Come early for kids' activities, or join us at 6 pm for an after-work celebration. Great Israeli music and food throughout included in the ticket price. Your first drink is on us!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5-8 pm
Family activities 5 pm, Happy hour 6:30 pm,
West 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe @Riverside Park
Tickets: $5 in advance; $15 at the door
Kids under 13 are free
Purchase Tickets

All Sunday and Monday events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Click on the event titles to register.

Sunday, May 4

JCC Ride: Tour of Israel
The Marti Ann Meyerson Center for Health + Wellness
The JCC in Manhattan,
334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4
9:30-10:30 am
10:45-11:45 am

This indoor cycling ride takes you through a virtual tour of Israel from Eilat to the Golan and everything in between.

Shirim La'yeladim

B'nai Jeshurun, 257 West 88th Street
May 4, 10-10:45 am

Come join the rakevet (train), climb on the aviron (airplane), and join the rikudim (dancing) with a song session for children ages 1-6 in Hebrew.

Co-presented by B'nai Jeshurun and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

From Diaspora to Homeland: Musical
Journeys of Israel


Congregation Habonim, 44 West 66th Street
May 4, 10-11 am

Join us for an interactive musical adventure through Israeli folktales with "Play Me a Story" for children ages 3-8.

Israel Forum:
The Next Frontier of Israeli Hi-Tech


The David H. Sonabend Center for Israel
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 10:30 am-12:30 pm

Israel's well-documented role as a center of innovation is poised to transform the world stage, as countries around the world, including the US, are turning to Israel to study its successes, translate them, and implement them at home. With Adam Shwartz, Director of the The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute and Michal Michaeli, Founder of EVA Ventures.

Moderator: Ethan Bronner, Deputy National Editor of The New York Times.

Finding Israel on the UWS: A Scavenger Hunt for Yom Ha'atzmaut

B'nai Jeshurun, 257 West 88th Street
May 4, 11 am

Come as a team or join others on a scavenger hunt exploring the Israeli surprises of the Upper West Side with photo challenges, riddles, and more. Prizes for the winning team, guaranteed fun for all ages! The hunt will culminate in a groovy concert of modern Israeli music.

Rain or shine. Co-presented by B'nai Jeshurun and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. Run by Watson Adventures

The Land of Milk and Honey

Congregation Ansche Chesed,
251 West 100th Street
May 4, 11 am-1 pm

School-age children and their families will experience the bounty of ancient Israel with all of the senses: kneading dough and baking pita on an outdoor flame, pressing grapes for fresh juice, tasting goat's milk (and petting a live goat!), and creating artwork based on the seven biblical species. With a special musical performance by Basya Schechter of Romemu from 12:30-2:00! Co-presented by Congregation Ansche Chesed and the Abraham Joshua Heschel School.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Family Art Day and Exploration of Ceremonial Objects

The JCC in Manhattan,
334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 11 am-1:30 pm

Israeli artists Dov Abramson and Ken Goldman have created pieces featuring Jewish ceremonial objects with a modern and playful aesthetic. Children ages 8 and under will learn about the artwork using an imaginative approach and a variety of media and supplies.

Co-presented by Beit Rabban Day School and The JCC in Manhattan.

Bringing Israel Home: Celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut

DOROT, 171 West 85th Street
May 4, 11 am-2 pm

Help bring Yom Ha'atzmaut to homebound and isolated seniors who once lived in Israel and cannot get out easily to celebrate with the community. Volunteers will bring a package of Israeli goods to the DOROT seniors, talk about their own Israel experiences, and create meaningful experiences by sharing photos and memories.

Co-presented by DOROT, JCC 20s + 30s, and Birthright Next.

Israel Film Center Streaming Room

The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, noon-5 pm

Enjoy free streams of the best new and classic Israeli films. Computer stations will be available for individual viewing of the film of your choice.

Columbia University Celebrates
Yom Ha'aztmaut 2014


3009 Broadway, Barnard College,
Lehman Lawn
May 4, noon-3 pm

Come join Columbia University as we celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut. The celebration will include Israeli food, Israeli music, interactive games, art projects, free t-shirts, and so much more.

Family Street Fair
West Side Institutional Synagogue,
120 West 76th Street

May 4, noon-3 pm

Don't miss this outdoor Israeli street fair complete with live bands, inflatable obstacle courses, rock climbing, Israeli dancing, arts projects, food, and tons of programs for kids ages 3 and up.

A Free Taste of Hebrew

Ulpan Center | The JCC in Manhattan,
334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 12:30 pm

If you're curious about the Ulpan method, here's your chance to experience this unique way of learning Hebrew. Come try a complimentary beginners class that will introduce you to the Ulpan method.

A Land of Milk, Honey, and Words

Congregation Ansche Chesed,
251 West 100th Street
May 4, 1 pm

In Jewish culture, food can be a symbol for life's delights and can also bear ethical teachings. We will taste excellent wines from Israel's top vineyards (1-2 pm), learn about contemporary Israel's finest cooking from acclaimed chef Einat Admony (food demo* at 2 pm, Q&A at 3 pm), and study with Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, Dr. David Kraemer, and Dr. Adriane Leveen (2 pm). Come a little early to catch a special musical performance by Basya Schechter of Romemu (12:30-2)! Food will be available for purchase. *Food demo limited to 20 participants sign up now!

Co-presented by Romemu and Ansche Chesed.

Growing Up Israel

Congregation Shaare Zedek, 212 West 93rd Street
1 pm (food available);
2 pm (program start)
May 4, 1 pm

This immersive program will expose children ages 3-10 to aspects of everyday Israeli life. We will decorate hamsas, learn traditional Israeli schoolyard games, and participate in a military-style boot camp. Israeli snacks will be provided at the conclusion of the program.

Co-presented by Congregation Shaare Zedek and the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.

Israel in Short

Israel Film Center
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 2-3 pm

Celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut with films from Israel's Academy Awards shorts selection. Israel's film industry is one of the world's most innovative and thriving. Get a glimpse into Israel's zeitgeist through incredible short films by the next generation of hot filmmakers.

A Land Twice Promised

West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 2-4 pm

Israeli storyteller Noa Baum weaves together the memories and stories of Palestinian and Israeli women, creating a moving testimony and illustrating the complex history and emotions that surround Jerusalem. Children ages 12 and up welcome.

Co-presented by West End Synagogue and Mechon Hadar.

20s + 30s Tel Aviv Beach Party

The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 2-5 pm

Get ready to party Tel Aviv-style on the roof of the JCC! Join 300+ young professionals for an afternoon beach party with DJ Mijal Ben-Dori (you might recognize her from Birthright). Enjoy Israeli food, music, beer, beachside games, and a great crowd.

SMASH TYPE: Kibbutz
for the Whole Family


The JCC in Manhattan,
334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 2-2:45 pm, 3pm-3:45 am,
4-4:45 pm

The alphabet is for everyone. So is the Aleph Bet. Imagine a place where all people, young and old, work together to build a community that provides all of life's essentials: food, shelter, education, and fun! Choose your favorite Hebrew letter of the Aleph Bet to help us build our SMASH TYPE kibbutz, a flourishing collective made entirely from letters. Great for the whole family.

Celebrating Israel Through Artistic Expression

Jewish Home Lifecare, 120 West 106th Street
May 4, 2:30-4 pm

Throughout the week, many of our resident and patient groups will enjoy a series of special Israeli-themed programs that will culminate with an end-of-week celebration and musical performance on Yom Ha'atzmaut. All are invited to attend a special Israeli concert and celebration on Sunday.

Co-presented by Jewish Home Lifecare, Mechon Hadar, and the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.

"I am a Stranger:" Becoming Ruth with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, 37 West 65th Street
May 4, 3-5 pm

Ruth is a stranger in more senses than one. Who is this unknown woman who is destined to become mother of royalty? What is the process by which she finds her way into a foreign religious tradition? Space is limited.

Co-presented by Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Darkhei Noam.

Film: The Arena - The History of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv

The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 3-5pm

(Israel, 2001, 48 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles) Meet members of the UJA-Federation of New York's Engage Jewish Service Corps community for adults in their 50s, 60s, and beyond as we view the film The Arena. A discussion with the director and light refreshments will follow the screening.

Film: Life as a Rumor

Israel Film Center
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 4pm

(Israel, 2013, 123 min, Hebrew with English subtitles) A documentary autobiography by Assi Dayan, son of General Moshe Dayan, and one of Israel's most prominent film directors and actors. The "Israeli Forrest Gump," Dayan's life has intersected with all of Israel's major political and cultural crossroads. Born at the same time as the country, his tumultuous life story and the narrative of the nation both merge and clash with one another.

Culinary Demonstration

The Patti Gelman Culinary Arts Center
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 4 pm

Enjoy contemporary interpretations of mizrachi Israeli cuisine with our talented chef instructors.

Krav Maga

The Marti Ann Meyerson Center for Health and Wellness
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 4 pm

Learn Israeli self-defense practice, Krav Maga, with expert instructor James Sherman.

A Taste of Honey: The Music of Esther Ofarim

Congregation Habonim, 44 West 66th Street
May 4, 4 pm

Israeli guitarist Nadav Remez leads a group of NYC's top jazz musicians paying tribute to one of Israel's most celebrated singers, Esther Ofarim. This musical journey is an encounter between Ofarim's timeless music and the American medium of jazz improvisation. Just as Israel is the dynamic homeland for Jews all over the world, this concert will celebrate how Israel's music touches the diaspora, and how the diaspora touches back.

Meet the Artist: Ken Goldman

The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 5-7 pm

Come to The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery to meet Israel-based artist Ken Goldman whose work is featured in the exhibit Off Label: Ceremonial Objects Reimagined. An examination of boundaries between the sacred and the mundane, Goldman's work resides within the often uncomfortable, sometime humorous place of contradiction. A reception will follow.

A Taste of History: The Culinary Blending
of Sephardi and Ashkenazi Traditions


Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan,
805 Columbus Avenue, 3rd floor
May 4, 5-7 pm

Explore the shared culinary commonalities between traditional Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities. As Israel represents a crossroads between the two food cultures, A Taste of History will encourage young professionals to explore foods which blend seamlessly the histories and qualities unique to each community. Alcohol will be served.

Co-presented by Kehilat Hadar and The Sephardi Center.

Gender Equality and Social Justice

Society for the Advancement of Judaism, 15 West 86th Street
May 4, 5:30 pm

Labor Party Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli in conversation with Jane Eisner, Editor in Chief of the Forward, about MK Michaeli's innovative and sometimes controversial ideas and initiatives for the evolving Israeli society.

Co-presented by Society for the Advancement of Judaism and B'nai Jeshurun.

Sharim Ve'zochrim: Songs and Remembrance for Yom Hazikaron with Moshe Bonen

The JCC in Manhattan,
334 Amsterdam Avenue
May 4, 8 pm

Moshe Bonen and his band lead us in singing in memory of Israel's fallen.

Monday, May 5

Tekes Ma'avar

B'nai Jeshurun, 257 West 88th Street
May 5, 7 pm

A moving ritual of transition between Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Remembrance Day, and Yom Ha'atzmaut. Following the formal part of the evening, we invite you to join us in Israeli shirah.

Co-presented by B'nai Jeshurun and Mechon Hadar.

Young Professionals Yom Hazikaron Memorial/Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration

Congregation Ramath Orah, 550 West 110th Street
May 5, 7:30 pm

The evening with begin with a special tefillah for Yom Hazikaron followed by a ma'ariv hagigit for Yom Ha'atzmaut with a musical Hallel. Then, the community will be invited downstairs to a concert by Moshav, the Beatles of the Modern Orthodox young community today.

Schwarma and falafel will be served.

Co-presented by Jewish Center, Lincoln Square Synagogue, Congregation Ohab Zedek, Congregation Ramath Orah, Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, Shearith Israel, West Side Institutional Synagogue, and Young Israel of the West Side.

Chofshi B'Manhattan Presents: Yom Ha'atzmaut Dance Party

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
May 5, 8-11 pm

Chofshi B'Manhattan invites you to celebrate Israel's 66th birthday, toasting and dancing! We will start with Israeli songs by Mika Hary Group, then turn it up with DJ Yigal Beaton and Mix Entertainment, an open bar, and munchies.

Co-presented by Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, Chofshi B'Manhattan, and AICF.