By Emily Williams
The Levite Jewish Community Center is inviting the community to join in on a family-friendly celebration of the state of Israel on April 30.
The annual Birmingham Celebrates Israel will honor the country’s 1948 independence and 69th birthday.
The center boasts a diverse community of members, LJCC Director of Programming Mindy Cohen noted, and all are welcome to join in on the festivities.
“This will be a fun day with dancing, food, games for the kids … It’s a chance for the community to come together and show our support,” she said.
From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the center will host a variety of educational programs and activities to showcase the history and culture of Israel. There will also be games, arts and crafts, Israeli street food, inflatables and more.
“Israel is just about one of (the Jewish faith’s) only allies left in the Middle East and one of the few democracies in the region,” said Cohen. “This is a way to celebrate our Jewish roots and a chance to honor Israel’s birthday.”
With a strong educational aspect to the day, the celebration will be an opportunity for individuals to learn more about Israel and its role as “homeland for the Jewish people.”
The country is a haven for many people of the Jewish faith who fled surrounding Arab nations to avoid religious persecution. But being a state that incorporates a major portion of the Holy Land, surrounding Islamic nations have and continue to pursue occupation of the nation. As a result, Israel has little to no diplomatic relations with the countries that surround it, save Egypt.
“Now more than ever we need to come together and support Israel,” Cohen said.
This summer, the LJCC will welcome members of Jewish community centers from across the country as it hosts the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games, July 30-Aug. 4. The event is a teen athletic competition that promotes community involvement, teamwork and pride in the Jewish faith. This will be the first time the games have been hosted in Alabama.
Local teens can register to play on a team and adults can sign up to be a coach, volunteer, sponsor or host of a family traveling to town for the games.
For more information, visit bhamjcc.org.