As the state of Israel rang in its 73rd anniversary, hundreds of people across Northeast Ohio showed their patriotism during the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Yom Ha’atzmaut festival April 15.
More than 150 cars pulled into Corporate College East’s Warrensville Heights parking lot for an in-person drive-in party, where attendees were met with blue and white sporting stilt walkers, clowns, magicians, jugglers and dancers. Attendees of all ages wore Israeli flag head bands and waved flags as they remained in their cars for the festive event. Two giant television screens broadcast those connecting virtually and in-person party revelers.
The event had 215 viewers enjoying the event online through Zoom, where they experienced everything those in-person did, just behind a computer screen.
Everyone present both in their cars and virtually danced along to the Lehava band livestreaming from Israel, played Cleveland- and Israel-themed quizzes and games, and witnessed appearances by community members and Havat Hashomer base commander Tom Elgart. Attendees could also order special Yom Ha’atzmaut foods from local kosher eateries and savor Israeli flavors while celebrating the country’s anniversary.
The annual independence day celebration is one of the Federation’s biggest events of the year, and pre-COVID-19, the party was held in expansive spaces, like Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, to accommodate crowds of between 850 and 1,000 people.
The Cleveland Jewish News was a media sponsor of the celebration.