I had unique experience yesterday. I had the honors of being the Co-Chair of the Concert in Central Park and Honored Guest on the Consulate General’s Float with Dani Dayan and Grand Marshall Siggy Flicker.
Siggy Flicker’s appearance at the parade was nothing less than amazing. She made headlines last year when she quit the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Her storyline was focused on anti-Semitism and Holocaust misinformation. I had the opportunity first hand to witness fans of all ages and every religious affiliation grab her, hug her and thank you for exposing ignorance and joking about the Holocaust, and the extermination of six million Jews a main storyline on a reality television show viewed as entertainment.
I was standing next to her on one of the main floats, alongside Dayan, and several popular Israeli celebrities. They included a basketball star and musical performers. I must admit, it was kind of a “cool” feeling standing next to Dayan as he danced and sharing tales among us of how our different trails in life brought us together on this festive vehicle for 20 blocks.
It was quite a different experience not participating with a Jewish day school or yeshiva! I missed my school T-Shirt. I was also amazed how many schools from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other not-so-local states made the day trip to participate.
Preparing for the Concert in Central Park was a new, challenging experience. I never even attended a concert, much less prepare and publicize it. My goal was to broaden interest and draw new Jewish and Zionist supporters to the gathering. I also had to maintain the original concepts and satisfy the needs of the core followers on a limited budget.
My first call was to Siggy. After she said yes, I had my vision, share never before stories from Zionists. Coincidentally, after Siggy signed on with me, the Jewish Community Relations Council and The Consulate’s offices reached out to Flicker and become a Grand Marshall.
While the parade featured elected officials, the concert included both elected officials and candidates for offices from both New York and New Jersey. Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin handed Concert Chair Dr. Joe Frager a Citation of Honor for the Concert. Radio Show Host, Guardian Angels Founder and Reform Party Chair, Curtis Sliwa, introduced his party’s candidates, Marc Molinaro for Governor, Chele Farley for Senator and Julie Killian for Lt. Governor.
In a rare situation, his co-host, Emmy-winning journalist, Rita Cosby, shared personal tales about her Polish Catholic family members that risked their lives to save Jews 75 years ago. She brought the crowds to tears. Her story related to Siggy’s, as Flicker’s father, A former worker at Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among The Nations” commemoration, as a survivor who was saved by a Catholic priest.
Pete Hegseth of “Fox and Friends” spoke of his trips to Israel, the importance of the United States-Israel relationship. Congressional candidate Steve Lonegan spoke about twinning Bogota, New Jersey with Bet El in Jerusalem and completing the Eruv in Teaneck. Actress Stacy Kessler shared her experiences about participating in the study abroad program in Tel Aviv University.
The music featured legends and upcoming superstars, classics and even a Jewish rap. Avrohom Fried, Tal Vaknin, Mordechai Shapiro, Gershon Veroba, and The Dill Rapper all performed.
Shloime Dachs was the Musical Director and his orchestra transitioned with each act perfectly.
After a long exhausting, yet exciting day, it was clear, Israel is 70 Years Young, 70 Years Strong!