The Parade, which began as the Youth Salute to Israel Parade on Riverside Drive in 1964, now features over 30,000 marchers from across the tri-state area and beyond. It is a Rite of Spring for thousands of spectators and hundreds of Jewish organizations, synagogues, day schools, and youth groups and community centers who “walk the walk” each June in solidarity with Israel.
This year, The Jewish Agency’s highlighted its commitment to “Bring Israel to the Jews and the Jews to Israel” by inviting our olim and shlichim to be the guests of honor on our float and to march alongside us at the parade.
Our olim are families and young Jews who have taken the plunge and will be boarding our Israel flights this summer to make Aliyah. Our shlichim are the thousands of Israeli emissaries whom we recruit, train and disperse to communities throughout the Diaspora to deepen the connection between the people of Israel and Jews worldwide. During their 2-year commitment, these shlichim lead workshops, plan educational programs at day schools and summer camps, teach classes, and help coordinate follow-up trips to Israel in the communities they serve.
This year, security was tighter than usual due to the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon and, with temperatures soaring into the upper 80s Fahrenheit, our marchers’ mettle was tested but rewarded with bright skies, cheering crowds and a deep sense of satisfaction.