Federation announces new event call it Israel in the plaza

Eighteen days after announcing it was canceling Israel in the Gardens this year, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation this week said it will present a 90-minute Israeli Independence Day gathering in San Francisco.

The Yom HaAtzmaut celebration will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarc-adero.

The event, in celebration of Israel’s 66th birthday, is being presented in partnership with the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, “with a special thanks to the Consulate General of Israel,” according to a press release.

The free community event will feature Israeli music from the bands the Peatot, Sol Tevel and possibly others, plus appearances by local politicians and community leaders. The winners of the Israel in Our Hearts Awards, recognizing “dedication and passion” for Israel, will be announced at the event.

Falafel and other Israeli food will be available for purchase from vendors; as of this week they had not been named.

Additionally, the federation announced that over the coming weeks, it will sponsor and develop Yom HaAtzmaut–related events at local congregations; provide grants to local JCCs for Yom HaAtzmaut events; partner with the JCRC to create educational units for local day schools and religious schools on Yom HaAtzmaut; and co-sponsor Israeli arts and cultural programming.

Israel in the Gardens, a one-day festival that has drawn crowds of 15,000 to Yerba Buena Gardens the past two years, is going on hiatus this year, the Israel Center announced in its March 7 newsletter. The center, a program of the federation, handles the logistics of the long-running festival, usually held in early June. It has been held downtown since 1995, when an Israel Independence Day picnic and celebration took place in Yerba Buena Gardens, not long after it was built. — j. staff