Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and over 30 partner organizations sponsored a global celebration of Israel’s 72nd birthday during a virtual one-hour event co-hosted by Unorthodox star Shira Haas. Featuring celebrities, members of the Jewish community from across the world, and surprise guests, the star-studded event highlighted Israeli cultural achievement and stories of Israel past and present.
In addition to exclusive footage of Israel’s official Independence Day Ceremony on Mt. Hertzl, the virtual celebration included performances by Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt and his brothers, Broadway star Caissie Levy, Israeli pop singer Rita, and Jewish rapper Matisyahu. The ceremony also featured a special cooking demonstration by bestselling cookbook author Adeena Sussman, and appearances by West Wing actor Josh Malina, sex therapist Dr. Ruth, and many more.
Since Israeli Independence directly follows Israeli Memorial Day, the ceremony also emphasized the sacrifices and resiliency of the Israeli people. Isaac Herzog, the son of former Israeli President Chaim Herzog, recounted Israel’s War of Independence and paid tribute to former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
“The declaration of a Jewish state is one of the greatest feats of our time and a cause for celebration,” said Mark Wilf, chair of the board of trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. “Amid the hardship and tragedy that has been brought on by this pandemic, we welcome a moment to share our love for Israel with our brothers and sisters from around the world. Together, we can sing and join together in a new way to mark this glorious moment.”