New York—More than 9,000 Israeli Americans, Jews and supporters of Israel packed Pier 94 in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday for the inaugural Israeli American Council (IAC) Celebrate Israel Festival New York, marking a historic turning point for the TriState IsraeliAmerican community.

The largest celebration ever of IsraeliAmerican culture in New York featured an array of iconic Israeli pop culture stars, including the charttopping singer Rita, beloved children’s entertainer Rinat Gabay and a host of acclaimed Israeli jazz musicians sponsored by the worldfamous Blue Note Records label. Israeli pop star Kobi Aflalo also made a surprise appearance, performing a dazzling duet with Rita.

Celebrate Israel New York was organized by IAC in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel in New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY), and the UJAFederation of New York, and followed the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue.

“Celebrate Israel New York was a game changer for IsraeliAmericans in New York and beyond,” said Yehudit FeinsteinMentesh, the IAC’s New York regional director. “On Sunday we came together in a
powerful embrace to celebrate the rich, multilayered culture of Israel in the Big Apple. We sang and cried with Rita and Kobi, laughed with Rinat and painted the town blue and white for the first of what we expect will be many magical moments.”

Israel’s Ambassador in New York Ido Aharoni and the CEO of UJAFederation Eric Goldstein officially opened the festival and welcomed the IsraeliAmerican community. The Celebrate Israel Festival was modeled after IAC’s hugely popular Celebrate Israel Festival in Los Angeles for Israel’s Independence Day – the largest Jewish festival in North America, typically drawing more than 15,000.

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