Ottawa celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut

Ottawa celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut

By Matthew Horwood

Hundreds of people, from young children to great-grandparents, gathered at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, May 9, to celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel.

Israeli Shinshinim Inbar Haimovich (left) and Liam Afota celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, May 9, at the SJCC. (Howard Sandler)

Ella Dagan, director of the Vered Israel Cultural and Educational Program, said the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration is an “important opportunity to express solidarity with the State of Israel and to strengthen our alliance.

“It is one of the few occasions where many Jewish organizations and people from different backgrounds come together for a common celebration,” she said.

The downstairs gymnasium featured activities for children, including the Superhero Training Academy, face painting, balloon animals, various Israeli crafts and a bouncy castle and obstacle course.

Children’s activities for Yom Ha’Atzmaut included the Superhero Training Academy. (Howard Sandler)

Upstairs in the social hall, adults danced to Israeli-style dance mixes created by Israeli DJ Lahit Barosh and enjoyed a performance by the Cleopatra dance troupe from Montreal.

Members of the Cleopatra dance troupe perform during Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebrations, May 9, at the SJCC. (Howard Sandler)


Throughout the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, Babi’s Restaurant served authentic Israeli cuisine and several of Ottawa’s Jewish organizations and agencies had information tables highlighting their services and activities.

The flags of Israel and Canada flying above Ottawa City Hall on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, May 9. (Michael Regenstreif)

Earlier in the day, community members and a delegation of students from Torah Day School of Ottawa gathered to see the Israeli flag raised at Ottawa City Hall. The flag-raising ceremony included remarks by Jewish Federation of Ottawa President and CEO Andrea Freedman, Israeli Ambassador Nimrod Barkan, Mayor Jim Watson, Liberal MP Michael Levitt representing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Conservative MP Rachael Harder representing Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer.

Israeli Ambassador Nimrod Barkan speaks during the Yom Ha’Atzmaut flag-raising ceremony outside Ottawa City Hall, May 9. (Michael Regenstreif)