On Israel’s 70th, become a part of history as you look back on it
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Top Five for Independence Day

On Israel’s 70th, become a part of history as you look back on it

Israel celebrates Independence Day in every city, town and village; here are a few standout options for marking Yom Ha'atzmaut

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

קולולם עושים את יום העצמאות - 9.4.18

*English followsמדינה שלנו, על הדבש ועל העוקץ... זהו רגע היסטורי של 12,000 קולות של תקווה, חג עצמאות שמח! אירוע קולולם לחגיגות 70 שנה למדינת ישראל בשיר "על כל אלה" של נעמי שמר עם אמן אורח שלומי שבת - העמוד הרשמי בליווי תזמורת הרחוב הירושלמית Jerusalem Street Orchestra בשיתוף Reuven Ruvi Rivlin - ראובן רובי ריבלין המשרד לשוויון חברתי ועיריית תל-אביב-יפו היכלי הספורט - תל אביב-יפוBeloved country,With your honey and your bee-sting…This is a historical moment - 12,000 voices of hope.Happy Independence Day! Koolulam celebrate 70 years to the foundation of the state of Israel with the song “Al Kol Eleh” (“Over all of These”) by Neomi Shemer, along with guest artist Shlomi Shabat, and accompanied by the Jerusalem Street Orchestra, in collaboration with the President’s Residence, the Ministry for Social Equality and the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.

Posted by ‎קולולם - Koolulam‎ on Monday, 16 April 2018

It’s a week for the history books, as Israel celebrates its 70th, with some extraordinary events, ceremonies and activities planned to mark the country’s seven decades of official existence.

There are,of course, traditional rituals for celebrating the day, from singalongs and barbecues to massive concerts and dance parties.

But if you’re seeking some other plans, we have a few ideas:

1) Head to the beach. Monday is the first official day of the summer season, with lifeguards on call from 7:15 a.m. until 4:45 pm. (The special Israel Air Force salute from the skies will take place on Thursday from 9:40 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with planes flying over 40 cities and towns, and, of course, beaches.)

You can check out how crowded your favorite patch of  Tel Aviv sand is with live streaming from the Tel Aviv beaches. Finally, Tel Aviv Digital cardholders can rent umbrellas, chairs and lounge chairs through kiosks at the beach, making the schlep factor (for some) far lower than before.

2) Tel Aviv, Israel’s first independent Hebrew city, is hosting events all over town, including a Wednesday night concert in Rabin Square, the new Independence Trail, three nights looking back at 70 years of Israeli film at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and free entry to museums and historic sites.

The Democracy Pavilion set up on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard for Israel’s 70th (Courtesy Israel Democracy Institute)

Celebrate Israeli democracy with the Democracy Pavilion, a multimedia dome honoring Israel’s declaration of independence and the values it supported. Visitors are invited to put their signatures alongside the declaration at the structure, situated at 1 Rothschild Plaza. The pavilion was created by the Israel Democracy Institute with the Tel Aviv municipality and the support of the Taube Foundation.

Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel, President Ruby Rivlin and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai got front row seats at the latest Koolulam singing initiative, in honor of Israel’s 70th (Courtesy Koolulam)

3) Koolulam, the social singing initiative that’s taken Israel by storm, started celebrating earlier when it gathered 12,000 people, including President Reuven Rivlin, musician Shlomi Shabat, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and MK Gila Gamliel at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim arena to sing Naomi Shemer’s iconic “Al Kol Eleh,” “For All These Things,” in preparation for Israel’s 70th.

Over all these things, over all these things
Please stand guard for me my good God
Over the honey and the stinger
Over the bitter and the sweet
Don’t uproot a sapling
Don’t forget the hope
May you return me, and may I return
To the good land

President Rivlin, a guy who loves to sing, got this particular Koolulam project off the ground, supported by Or Teicher, Michal Schneiderman and Ben Yefet, the three Koolulum founders.

Last Sunday night, Facebook feeds and Instagram threads were instantly filled with photos and clips of the crowd of singers, as well as members of Shemer’s family, eight conductors and 40 musicians. Unlike other, smaller Koolulam gatherings, this time the singers were divided into only two groups to practice, eschewing some of the more complex harmonies used in previous events. But they warmed up with another Shemer classic, “Lu Yehi,” as well as Shabat’s popular song, “Because of the Wind.”

The finished product will officially be shown at Rivlin’s residence on Yom Ha’atzmaut day, although it’s already up on Facebook and we had a sneak peek of the rehearsal.

Koren Publishing’s ‘Israel Bible,’ being released in honor of Israel’s 70th (Courtesy Koren Publishing)

4) Koren Publishers, the people that bring carefully laid out prayerbooks and Bibles, are offering the world’s first Bible entirely focused on the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the unique relationship between them. Created in honor of Israel’s 70th, the Israel Bible provides an original commentary that seeks to explain God’s focus on the land, the people, and the language, and also includes modern maps, photos and other tidbits that provide a new reading of the book.

5) If you’re 70 or older, you can gain free entry to Holon’s children’s museum this season. At the museum, known for its “Dialogue in the Dark” exhibit as well as others, they’re celebrating Israel’s 70th with “Dialogue with Time,” an exhibit about the signs, symbols, objects and texts of Israel’s 70 years of existence, guided by 70-year-olds who will tell their personal stories against the background of the country’s history. It’s an intergenerational conversation for kids age 10 and up, with coordinated individual and group visits, in Hebrew and in English.

A display of symbols and objects marking Israel’s 70 years of existence, part of ‘Dialogue at 70’ at the Holon Children’s Museum (Courtesy Holon Children’s Museum)

In Jerusalem, go see a different kind of mapping of Israel’s history, as Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael offers an artistic video mapping of its  activities in Israel over the last 70 years. The seven-minute film is being screened on the buildings of the Jewish National Fund and Jewish Agency, still housed in structures built in the 1930s, at the corner of King George and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Streets. April 15, 16, 18, 19, 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m.

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