Today marks a special tradition for my family – one I have attended my entire life. It is the annual Salute to Israel Day Parade in New York City, a day which 5th Avenue is dominated by the white and blue flags of the State of Israel, politicians clamor for the cameras to show their support for the Jewish State and tens of thousands of Pro-Israel supporters attend the parade. Street banners, floats and unrequited love for and support for Israel. It is a great day for the American Jewish community.
For me, today as a parent it is a great feeling for me to wake up and have my kids running around the house watching the clock until we leave. As they gossip about who they will see there and what to wear. Brings me back to my memories in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s walking with the Betar Zionist Youth Organization and excited about chanting slogans and seeing old friends. And confident that whatever I did my mother, Penny Waga, of blessed memory would stand alongside the parade route waiting for a glimpse of me and my sister.
Of course, my mother also shared stories with me which I remember so vividly of how her father, Morris Waga, waited alongside the parade route in the pouring rain as she walked down Riverside Drive with Betar in the 1st parade for the State of Israel. While some things change and loved ones are no longer with us, thankfully the Jewish people and State of Israel continues to grow stronger and stronger.
I hope long after I am in this world, my kids’ kids’ kids, and young people worldwide will march for, and support the State of Israel. The annual New York Parade is an important tradition.
As Ze’ev Jabotinsky said we need Jews who are “proud, generous, and fierce” for the Jewish people. Surely the Israel Day Parade helps in that process. Am Israel Chai – The Jewish people live.