June 3, 2018…Photos and Article: Len Rapoport
“In 1965, thousands walked down Riverside Drive in support of the young State of Israel. This impromptu walk evolved into the Salute to Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue.
In 2011 the name of the Parade was changed to focus on celebrating the vibrant and diverse country of Israel. The Parade features over 30,000 marchers from many organizations. Hundreds of thousands enthusiastic spectators watch American and Israeli community leaders and dignitaries, entertainers, artists, musicians, dancers, celebrities, floats and marching bands.”
See Our Photo Gallery
it was the 54th year of the parade and one that would bring New York’s Jewish Community together in one glorious parade. Unlike the Thanksgiving Day Parade or Holiday parades these cultural parades celebrate the people and heritage of those that participate in the parade.
The parade itself will commence at 11 am and will last about five hours, spanning from 57th to 74th street. It will be followed by a concert in Central Park, with kosher food trucks stationed around the park. The Empire State Building will be lit blue and white as the sun goes down.
We were stationed at 59th Street so we had a good vantage point.
Every marching group and float committee works with parade organizers to make sure their display combines the event’s overall theme with their organization’s own unique twist. Construction and creative efforts begin up to a year in advance of the parade itself.”
Marchers came from the New York metropolitan area as well as from other parts of the country. They represented Jewish day schools, Synagogues, Youth Groups, Hillels and other organizations including the Chai Riders Motorcycle Club.
In all the cultural parades we have covered and there have been many, we have never seen as many people marching in the parade or as many spectators. It was truly a wonderful day for me as it brought back many memories as a young Hebrew school student learning about the history of our people and of Israel.