Event hails Israel’s freedom - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Event hails Israel’s freedom

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Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2004 6:50 am | Updated: 5:04 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Camel rides, Israeli music and dancers, Middle Eastern food, jewelry and artwork will be featured as part of the celebration in Scottsdale of Israel’s 56th Independence Day on April 25.

"It’s a communitywide, family celebration," said event spokesman Eitan Ben-Ami of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, which is presenting the event. It is expected to attract 7,000 to 8,000 people, organizers said.

The event aims to bring together people of all faiths and ages, in addition to the Valley’s Jewish community, Ben-Ami said.

Gov. Janet Napolitano and Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross are scheduled to speak at a Stand Up for Israel solidarity rally at 3:15 p.m.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon also has been asked to attend, but has not yet confirmed whether he will be there, Ben-Ami said late Friday.

Organizers have traveled to local churches and Christian groups to publicize the event, said event cochairman Steve Rosenbaum.

The day also focuses on non-Jewish groups in Israel, including the Druze people, whose religion is derived from Islam and other faiths.

Children and adults can design "stones" to put in a replica of the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for Jews in Jerusalem, Rosenbaum said.

People may write down their prayers and place them in the wall replica.

The written prayers later will be sent to Israel, where a rabbi will place them in the actual wall.

"The Jewish people believe if prayers are placed in the Western Wall, they come true. It has very special significance for the Jewish people," Rosenbaum said.

The celebration includes a petting zoo for children, as well as a simulated archeological dig, where youngsters can dig up pieces of pottery and coins.

Entertainment includes folk singing and dancing by 20 teenage Israeli Scouts from Tel Aviv, Israel.

A social hour will be offered for singles, Rosenbaum said. Local chefs will use kosher products in cooking demonstrations during the event.

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