Israel Festival in Virginia Beach to include murals


When the Simon Family Jewish Community Center celebrates Yom Ha'Atzmaut, or Israel's Independence Day, its grounds and building are transformed into just about anything that's related to Israeli culture.

Attendees of the Israel Festival, held from 12:30 to 5 p.m. April 28, will enjoy traditional Israeli cuisine, shopping, arts and crafts, music, dance performances, inflatables, face painting, camel rides and more.

Held yearly, the event is open to people of all backgrounds and religions.

There will be a scaled-down version of the Western Wall again with the opportunity to place notes there and later have them transported to Israel for placement in the real wall.

One addition this year is Walk the Land 65, a visual representation highlighting Israel's innovative and humanitarian gifts to the world since it became a country 65 years ago.

The collection of educational murals will be spaced out throughout the campus, which is located at 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, allowing attendees to "walk the land."

The United Jewish Federation is one of scores of participants throughout the world taking part in Walk the Land 65. The Federation has united with Celebrate Life!, coordinated by the Afikim Foundation and sponsored by the World Zionist organization, the Israel Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs.

"Attendees will also receive free educational mini-booklets and cards that feature Israeli innovations and inventions, as well as packets of seeds from Israel that, together with 100 other cities, will grow hundreds of thousands of Israeli flowers around the world," said Robin Mancoll, director of the community relations council for the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Mancoll noted the flowers are symbolic of the preciousness of life.

The 10 murals include agricultural, environmental, humanitarian, medical, security, educational, cultural photos and more.

"Our community is proud of these accomplishments and looks forward to teaching the Jewish community members, along with other faith friends, just a few of the highlights," Mancoll said.

Walk the Land 65 will allow participants to see a different side of Israel, one that Mancoll said the media does not always highlight.

"We know that once people move past the conflict, they will see that Israel is a light unto nations," Mancoll said, "a country that offers great gifts to not just her own citizens, but makes efforts to make the world a better place."

The Israel Festival is from 12:30 to 5 p.m. April 28 at the Sandler Family Campus of the Simon Family Jewish Community Center, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach. Admission is free. Food and other activities require ticket purchase.


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