HomeMay 2012We Love Israel

We Love Israel

For some members of the Orange County Jewish community, the annual Israel Expo is a chance to visit Israel vicariously – with food, merchandise, entertainment, a shuk-like atmosphere and other amenities of Israel. For others, it is a chance to have a community celebration for Israel, to connect with people and organizations and to be part of a fun day for the entire family.

This year, Israel Expo, coordinated by Jewish Federation & Family Services of Orange County and sponsored by a variety of community organizations and synagogues, has a new twist. May 20, Israel Expo day, coincides with the fourth annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Sunday. That morning, millions of CUFI worshippers in churches in more than 60 countries will recite special prayers for Israel. Later that afternoon, local CUFI worshippers will join the Orange County Jewish community and other supporters of Israel at the Israel Expo from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine to celebrate Israel’s 64th birthday and Jerusalem Day.

“Israel Expo 2012: Coming Together for Peace” marks the first time the Jewish and CUFI communities will come together at the Israel Expo. One highlight will be a peace and prayer ceremony featuring blessings from CUFI and Jewish clergy and wishes for peace from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (recorded), Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang and other community leaders. After the ceremony, there will be an inspiring “Concert for Peace,” featuring international Israeli singer, songwriter and peace activist Liel Kolet and the Los Angeles-based Christian band, {l.a.}god performing songs of peace together on stage for the first time.

Born on a kibbutz in northern Israel near the Lebanese border, Kolet, 22, experienced war as a child and decided to use her voice and music to promote peace and send the message that her generation should stop the cycle of hatred and create a new beginning. She started her career at age 12 when she won a European talent contest in Italy. Her historic duet with President Bill Clinton gave her mission for peace world-wide exposure.

International legends such as Andrea Bocelli, Herbie Hancock, Patti LaBelle and The Scorpions have recorded peace songs with Kolet, in support and admiration of her dedication to promote peace and tolerance. She is currently recording her first American album with legendary producer and 16-time Grammy winner Humberto Gatica. The first single, “Till Tomorrow,” will be released in June 2012 in conjunction with her national PBS special and USA tour.

“At a time when Israel is facing formidable threats from Iran’s nuclear agenda and from those who seek its demise through terrorism and delegitimization campaigns, we are delighted to stand in solidarity with our Christian neighbors who share our deeply rooted commitment to a secure Israel,” said Blossom Siegel, co-chair of the 2012 Israel Expo. “It is especially fitting that we come together on the day we celebrate Jerusalem, a city with tremendous, religious significance to both Christians and Jews and one that cherishes the principles of religious tolerance and unimpeded worship at its holy sites.”

Co-chair Idit Ferder expects more than 10,000 people to attend the Expo, which will also 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, falafel stands and other Israeli delicacies. The event is free with free parking and shuttle services from 1 p.m. at Mariners Church, free parking for persons with disabilities and V.I.P parking for $10. Every guest who registers at the Expo entrance will join the opportunity drawing for an El Al Israel ticket and a two-night stay at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, as well as a free eco-friendly shopping bag filled with coupons and gifts from JFFS and the Expo vendors.

In celebration of Jerusalem Day, Israel Expo 2012 will present the third annual children’s Jewish Unity Parade, the concept of Israel Expo founding chair Gordon Fishman, M.D. Hundreds of Jewish youngsters will be joined by the Fishman Family All-Community Children’s Choir in a festive march around the Expo, concluding with a performance by the choir onstage. Each participating child will receive a FREE parade t-shirt, souvenirs and treats and a chance to win an iPad3 in a special opportunity drawing for kids.

Eight children’s choirs will be on stage, all at the same time, singing together. They represent Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation Shir Ha Ma’alot, the Hebrew Academy, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School, Temple Beth David, Temple Beth Sholom, Temple Beth Tikvah and University Synagogue. Cantor Arie Shikler from Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot will conduct the choirs.

Other entertainment at Israel Expo 2012 includes: Israeli singer Michal Bonet, an international singer who sings in many languages and conducts Hebrew singalongs throughout the U.S.; the Amazing Bottle Dancers, who have been adding a touch of tradition to weddings, B’nai Mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries and tribute dinners throughout the world; Israeli dancing with Yoni Carr, who has been teaching dance in Southern California for many years; Franklin Haynes Marionettes, presenting “Marionette Magic,” a half-hour variety puppet show; Kidotopia, arts, crafts, performances by and for children and interactive activities coordinated by Lisa Cohen of Creative Arts and Parties for Kids; a Packard car show, a display of 1948 Packards, furnished by Robert Escalante of Custom Auto Service in Santa Ana; and movies and videos.

There will also be an Israeli Scouts rope course and pita making, a Segway experience, camel rides, a school bus loaded with video games, carnival rides, clowns and jugglers, a rock-climbing wall, arts and crafts, balloon artists, air brush face painting, inflatable slides and obstacle courses, a trackless train and a mechanical bull.

Israel Expo 2012:
Coming Together For Peace

Sunday, May 20, 1 to 6 p.m.

Samueli Jewish Campus, Irvine

Free admission • Free public parking and shuttle services from 1 p.m. at Mariners Church (5001 Newport Coast Dr.) • Free parking for persons with disabilities: 5200 Bonita Canyon Dr. (TVT Lower School)

V.I.P parking – $10: 5 Federation Way (TVT Upper School)

Opportunity drawing for a trip to Israel • Entertainment, food and fun

Gordon Fishman M.D., Israel Expo Founding Chairman
Blossom Siegel and Idit Ferder – Israel Expo 2012 Co-Chairs


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