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Celebrate Israel!

Close to 100 students, parents and teachers representing Bi-Cultural Day School (BCDS) of Stamford were among the many delegations marching down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday, June 3, as part of the 53rd annual Celebrate Israel Parade.

Sporting bright blue t-shirts and carrying a colorful hand-painted banner declaring the parade theme “70 and Sababa” – “awesome” in Hebrew – the BCDS delegation joined close to 50,000 Israel supporters who transformed New York’s Upper East Side into a sparkling sea of blue and white as they celebrated Israel’s 70th anniversary.

“What a truly spectacular day it was – and BCDS was so grateful for the opportunity to play a part in making the march a joyful success!” said BCDS Head of School Jackie Herman. “A love for Israel is such an important part of who we are at BCDS; and so, it was felt wonderful to join with so many other proud Israel supporters in demonstrating to the world our unity as a Jewish community, and our sense of kinship and admiration for our beloved Jewish state.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and U.S. Sen-ator Charles Schumer drew cheers as they marched the parade route, along with Israeli Consul General Dani Danon, Israel’s Cultural Minister Mir Regev and several Israeli members of Parliament.

In addition to Jewish day school families, those marching included marching bands, Rollerbladers, motorcyclists, dance groups, juggling clowns and stilt walkers, who en-thralled and entertained the thousands of spectators lining Fifth Avenue, waving or wearing Israeli flags.

More than 1,000 police officers (including NYPD counterterrorism chief John Miller) who ensured those attending the event, which was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council in New York, stayed safe and secure. Only a handful of protesters staged counter-demonstrations.

Formerly known as the Salute to Israel Parade, the event had its beginnings in 1965 when thousands of people walked down Riverside Drive in support of the young state of Israel. The walk evolved into the Salute to Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue and was a way to mark the birth of the Jewish state and unite the Jewish communities around the tri-state area. In 2011, the name of the event became the Celebrate Israel Parade to focus on the country’s diversity.

Following the parade, Times Square was lit blue and white as a four-minute video pro-moting Israel innovation and celebrating its relationship with Israel was broadcast on screens throughout the site.

CAP: Bi-Cultural Day School struts its stuff down 5th Avenue (along with thousands of other Israel supporters)

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