Events set to mark Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron

Yosi Levy and the Sabras Band will perform at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, April 23, at the Soloway JCC.

Yosi Levy and the Sabras Band will perform at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, April 23, at the Soloway JCC.

Jason Moscovitz

Ottawa Jewish Bulletin columnist Jason Moscovitz will deliver the keynote address at the Yom Hazikaron commemoration, April 21.

By Pamela Rosenberg
Soloway JCC

The annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, Ottawa’s biggest Jewish community-wide celebration has a new home this year at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC).

The Yom Ha’Atzmaut festivities, celebrating the 67th year of Israel’s independence, take place Thursday, April 23, beginning at 5:00 pm, and will be spread throughout the entire building, taking advantage of all the space the SJCC has to offer.

“What better way to show off our wonderful Jewish Community Campus than hosting a major community celebration. It is something I’ve wanted to do for some time,” said SJCC President and COO Barry Sohn. “Our chair, Penny Torontow and her committee will once again celebrate Israel, but, this year, we get to celebrate our community by being on campus.”

The venue will allow space for the kids who want to run around and play to do so in one part of the SJCC without interfering with those who want to socialize, celebrate and enjoy their dinner in a quieter environment.

The celebration will consist of a variety of children’s activities taking place on the lower level. The gym will have a circus atmosphere with fun shows and crafts for the kids. Delicious Israeli fare provided by Creative Kosher Catering will be available for purchase both upstairs and on the lower level of the SJCC, while community organizations will have displays set up throughout the building.

“The SJCC is the main sponsor of the event and we want the community to understand the connection the SJCC has to this special day,” said event Chair Penny Torontow. “With the great facilities, we can appeal to families and have more children’s entertainment.

Upstairs in the social hall, Yosi Levy and the Sabras Band will perform with plenty of room for both those who want to get up and dance and those looking to sit and enjoy the show.

Based in Los Angeles, the Sabras Band is known for its diverse repertoire encompassing klezmer, Sephardic and Israeli music, as well as rock, Latin, Greek and Middle Eastern styles.

Earlier in the day, the community is invited to join Jewish community leaders and dignitaries at Ottawa City Hall’s Marion Dewar Square, 110 Laurier Avenue, at 11:00 am, as Israel’s flag will be raised in honour of Yom Ha’Atzmaut. There will be a chartered bus available to take people from the SJCC to City Hall and back.

On Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 pm, the community will gather at the SJCC to commemorate Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s national Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror.

The keynote address will be given by Ottawa Jewish Bulletin columnist Jason Moscovitz, who will speak about his family’s connection to Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, an Israel Defense Forces soldier who died in combat in Gaza this past summer.

“We mourn those who lost their lives, and then celebrate the Yom Ha’Atzmaut, which was made possible as a direct result of their sacrifice,” said Ella Dagan, Vered Israel Program manager and event co-ordinator for these events. “The duality of these two holidays takes on a special meaning this year in Ottawa. As we consider sacrifice and celebration, our minds and hearts are also with the tragedy on Parliament Hill. We remember the fallen soldiers and the victims of terror in both Israel and Canada, and we will celebrate the pride and patriotism of both nations.”

For more information on these programs, or to reserve a seat on the bus from the SJCC to the flag-raising ceremony, contact Ella Dagan at 613-798-9818, ext. 243, or edagan@jccottawa.com.

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