HomeApril 20132013 Israel Expo

2013 Israel Expo

In May 1973, when Ken Levin was executive director of the Jewish Federation Council and Dr. Stanley Kegel was chairing “Orange County’s Salute to Israel on its 25th Anniversary,” the first community-wide Israel-focused event in Orange County, nobody could imagine the explosive growth of the Jewish community in this area.  For that matter, nobody could believe that the “start-up nation” would become such a technological powerhouse.

Now, as the community is ready to celebrate Israel for the 40th time at “Israel: Small Country…Big Impact,” otherwise known as Israel Expo 2013, on Sunday, April 28, we may be witnessing another kind of history.  Engineers from the non-profit SpaceIL will be here to tell us how Israel just might be the third country to land on the moon – with a spacecraft controlled by a computer chip from Irvine-based Broadcom, funded in part by the Broadcom Foundation.
Cooperation between Israel and Orange County is getting more and more commonplace, according to Seth Siegel, CEO and co-owner of SunSolar U.S., a subsidiary of AMN SunSolar in Israel, the first and only Israeli company to do solar panels in the U.S., and a major sponsor of Israel Expo 2013.  Siegel, whose mother is Blossom Siegel, a co-chair of Israel Expo – along with Ayelet Nachman, is “excited about Israel Expo.”  He added, “Every year it gets larger, and the scope continues to grow.  It’s Jewish Federation & Family Services’ (JFFS) gift to the whole community and a real chance to see what Israel is, in terms of art, culture and technology.”
Israel Expo, sponsored by JFFS, brings together thousands of people of all faiths and backgrounds to celebrate Israel’s rich culture and its contributions to the world.  More than 200 companies, vendors, institutions and organizations participated in Israel Expo in 2012, and more than 10,000 community members turned out for this free, family-friendly afternoon of entertainment, food and fun.
The theme of the 2013 Israel Expo is “Israel: Small Country…Big Impact.”  Israel Expo will showcase Israel’s cutting-edge, technological innovations that are improving lives and helping to solve global challenges.
Other Expo activities will include live music and dance performances showcasing Israeli culture, educational exhibits and films, children’s games and rides, an Israeli-style market with more than 100 vendors, Israeli and local artist’s gallery, falafel stands and other Israeli delicacies.
Like the Israel Expo Facebook page or register at the Expo entrance to join the opportunity drawing for an El Al Israel ticket to Israel.  In addition, people will receive a free eco-friendly shopping bag filled with coupons and gifts from JFFS and the Expo vendors.


This Orange County band featuring Bob Weinberg, Steve Kaufman and Trevor Gordon, performs original world music with rich harmonies sung in four languages.  Styles range from classic and folk rock and blues, to progressive and Latin jazz.  Lyrics have Jewish and social themes.

Sharing the spirit of the youth of Israel with our community through the popular and traditional songs performed at army bases in Israel, the IDF musical ensembles perform in any and all locations where IDF forces are stationed and put on shows on a voluntary basis for civilian populations.  Many of the most celebrated Israeli singers and musicians are alumni of IDF musical ensembles.

This group, for ages 10 and up, will present a 10-minute version of the show “Medley Madness,” a fast-paced and entertaining presentation of Broadway music and choreography.

Yoni Carr, who has performed on Broadway and toured around the world as a soloist with the Inbal Theater and Karmon Group, has more than 20 years of experience teaching and performing Israeli dance.

Because 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Orange County Jewish community’s celebration of Israel, JFFS is launching the first annual IsraeLeader award program, recognizing individuals in Orange County who have spearheaded outstanding community Israel projects or programming that has enhanced the community’s connection to Israel.  Nominees are people whose initiatives have increased understanding of Israel through cultural, educational, spiritual or social experiences; promoted Israel advocacy or pro-Israel leadership development; or encouraged deeper engagement with Israel.
Winners will be chosen by community members through an online voting process.  All nominees will be honored at a special ceremony at the 2013 Israel Expo.  The top two vote-getters will win JFFS grants of $3,600 (first place) and $1,800 (second place) to be used for Israel programming in their organization.
The good news, according to Cindy Furst, IsraeLeader award program chair, is that “in this first-time program, there were a lot of votes, meaning that people understand what a great effort the nominees have made on behalf of Israel in this community.”
See the list of nominees and their bios on page 41 and get out the vote.


Maccabi mascot Judah Macca-bee will lead a pep rally in support of over 300 local OC Jewish teens and coaches who will represent our community at the JCC Maccabi Games/Artsfest this summer.

A brief ceremony on the main stage will acknowledge and thank all of Orange County’s cities’ mayors for their support of the Jewish community and Israel.

In the third annual children’s Jewish Unity Parade, hundreds of Jewish youngsters will march with the Fishman Family All-Community Children’s Choir around the Expo, concluding with a performance by the choir.  Each participating child will receive a FREE parade t-shirt, souvenirs and treats and a chance to win an ipod Touch.

Cantor Arie Shikler of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot and Cantor Jonathan Grant of Temple Bat Yahm will conduct 11 children’s choirs from our Jewish community who will be on stage, all at the same time, singing together: Chabad Jewish Center Mission Viejo, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot, The Hebrew Academy, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School, Temple Bat Yahm, Temple Beth David, Temple Beth El of South Orange County, Temple Beth Emet, Temple Beth Sholom, Temple Beth Tikvah.

Fourteen young Israeli entertainers offer a journey of hope, longing, deep emotion and laughter, expressed through dance, song and spoken word, multimedia staging and dozens of gorgeous costumes.  Revital is known for its spectacular and original musicals, including “Hope (Hatikvah),” which tells the story of the history of the State of Israel.

5:30 PM: LOCOS

Artists Gallery:  Jewish and Israeli artists with exhibits, live demonstrations, interactive art and craft activities and art for purchase
The Marketplace: fine art, gifts, Judaica, fashion, jewelry, books, music, skin care, accessories, green services and products
Simcha Expo: Photographers, videographers, caterers, event and design experts, linen services, florists, invitation printers and venues

Israel Expo 2013 features Israel’s astonishing scope of groundbreaking and cutting-edge technological innovation.  “Innovation Showcase” will show how Israeli innovations improve lives and solve global challenges.  This will be a first-of-its-kind event in Orange County.
A highlight of this innovation pavilion is SpaceIL (www.spaceil.com), a non-profit organization, working to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon in 2015.  The organization was founded by three young Israeli engineers, who undertook the challenge of the international competition, Google Lunar X-Prize: a global race for landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.  Additionally, “Space IL: Israel’s Race to the Moon” will be held at 2 p.m. in the Tarbut V’Torah multi-purpose room (MPR).  Seating for this presentation is limited, and registration is required at www.IsraelExpo.org or via phone at (949) 435-3484.  Space IL’s participation in Israel Expo is being sponsored by the Rose Project of JFFS.
According to Yariv Bash, CEO of SpaceIL, “Impacting kids is even more important than the spaceship itself.  It’s the ‘Apollo effect,’ where kids are so excited about the idea of Israel landing on the moon that they want to become engineers rather than watching ‘American Idol.’  Twenty years from now, I want to know that kids became engineers, because we inspired them and they fell in love with SpaceIL.”
He concluded, “People like us, because we’re a great project that comes out of Israel.  We symbolize innovation, thinking out of the box and being good ambassadors by doing good deeds.”

A special commemorative exhibit will show how the event we now know as Israel Expo has evolved since May 5 and 6, 1973, when Orange County held its first-ever community-wide celebration of Israel, drawing thousands of participants to its Cal State Fullerton location.  Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation Council of Orange County and CSUF Hillel, it was so well received that it became an annual event.  The exhibit will show annual events in Israel, along with those in Orange County since the celebrations began, according to Dalia Taft, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society.

Choose from camel rides, laser tag, video game simulators, bungee jumping, the puppets and players little theatre, magic show, carnival rides, clowns and jugglers, rock-climbing wall, arts and crafts, balloon artists, air brush face painting, inflatable slides and obstacle courses, trackless train, mechanical bull and storytelling.

KIDOTOPIA offers arts, crafts, performances by and for children and interactive activities coordinated by Lisa Cohen of Creative Arts and Parties for Kids.  Local area artists, storytellers, strolling characters, face painters, balloon artists, performing troupes, and professional children’s entertainers will be on hand.

Founded in 1991 by Laurie Branham and Gilbert (Gil) Olin, these artists wanted to revive traditional puppet theatre and make live theatre accessible to all.  “Puff, the Magic Dragon” features marionettes and hand puppets, delightful songs and an energetic live performance.


Join the basketball hoops game with friendly competition and prizes and learn how everyone can get involved in Maccabi this summer.

California Orange Jews: The Story of the Jews of Orange County (2010)
Israel Up Close: News Magazine Segments on Innovation:
•    Israel Brain Technologies
•    Generating Clean Electricity From Traffic
•    Cutting Edge Milking Technology
•    Helping Stroke Patients To Walk

Founded in 2003, Israel Up Close (IUC) (israelupclose.org) is a non-profit organization that produces high quality news segments covering Israel beyond the headlines.  IUC has produced more than 120 news clips.

Great Israeli food, Desserts & Sweets

IsraeLeader Nominees
(Nominators in italics)
Mai Gattenyo & Adar Karny, troop leaders who instill Israeli pride in Orange County teens. Shevet Tapuz
Naomi Warfield, chair of UCI’s iFest weeklong program promoting Israel.
Hillel Foundation of Orange County
Dr. Gordon Fishman, whose name is synonymous with the Israel Expo as its founding director.
University Synagogue
Johanna Rose, founding executive director of AIPAC in Orange County.
Congregation B’nai Israel
Ken Levin, executive director of Jewish Federation who championed first communitywide Israel celebration in Orange County. Orange County Jewish Historical Society
Shalom Shalev, creator and leader of TVT’s three-week trip to Poland and Israel. Tarbut V’Torah
Dr. Hal Kravitz, architect of TIES (Teen Israel Experience Summer) educational program at the Bureau of Jewish Education. Orange County Bureau of Jewish Education
Blair Becker, intern in the StandWithUs program to promote Israel on high school campuses. StandWithUs
Kim Burger, team leader of Israel Matters Committee to promote Israel activities and celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot
Margalit Moskowitz, longtime educator who has communicated her love of Israel and the Hebrew language to many generations.
Temple Beth Emet
Bernice Watkin, Orange County chairperson of AIPAC. Temple Bat Yahm
Blossom Siegel, pioneer of pro-Israel education in Orange County, co-founder of Israel Up Close, co-chair or Israel Expo since 2011. JFFS

Israel Expo 2013
“Israel: Small Country…Big Impact”
Sunday, April 28, 1-6 pm
Samueli Jewish Campus, Irvine
Gordon Fishman M. D., Israel Expo Founding Chairman
Blossom Siegel and Ayelet Nachman –
Israel Expo 2013 Co-Chairs
Sponsored by Jewish Federation & Family Services,
Orange County
(For a complete list of co-sponsors, see our website
at www.ocjewishlife.com.)
•    Free public parking & shuttle services at Mariners Church
•    Free parking for persons with disabilities at TVT Lower School
•    V.I.P parking – $10 at TVT Upper School

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