Categorized | Rotto_Gary

Modest San Diego event salutes Israel

israel festival

Salute to Israel on Sunday, April 26, drew only modest crowds

By Gary Rotto

Gary Rotto

Gary Rotto

SAN DIEGO –Under a sun drenched sky with a mild breeze, San Diego celebrated Israel.  Or at least a few hundred people celebrated Israel.  The attendance was significantly below the numbers of years gone by.  Rather than any drop off in support for Israel, the likely factor is the stripped down version of the event.

Unlike in past years, there were no community booths and no vendors.  Certainly the air reverberated with the sounds of Israeli music, dancers twirled with folk dancing and people enjoyed the food from any of three caterers or the lone food truck.

Amongst the spacious Nobel Field in the University City neighborhood of San Diego, there were expanses of open field large enough for multiple soccer games or for throwing a football without fear of hitting someone with an errant throw.  The mood was pleasant and controlled, rather than exuberant.

Many local organizations provided entertainment on the local stage from the Tarbuton singing and dancing ensemble to the Kavod Elementary School choir.     The sounds of noted recording artist Craig Taubman sought to attract the community and engage those in attendance.  Two San Diego Democrats, Congressman Juan Vargas and State Senator Marty Block, the latter chairman of the Jewish Caucus in the California Legislature, provided enthusiastic greetings.   A play area with inflatable slides and attractions was the most popular area of the festival.  Thus, as one Seacrest Village Retirement Community resident in attendance politely observed, it was more of an event for children than adults.

The festival is a huge undertaking for any one organization to coordinate.  In the past, significant staff resources were expended by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County in coordinating the many organizations and vendors who populated the San Diego version of an Israeli shuk.  An extraordinary number of volunteers are needed from early in the morning.  And the accompanying cost can weigh heavily on an organization.

In all, the festival was a modest way of showing support for establishment of Israel and the role that the country plays in our lives in the Diaspora.  It was a modestly pleasant way to modestly spend a couple of hours on a Sunday.

Rotto is a freelance writer based in San Diego.  Your comment may be sent to him at [email protected] or posted on this website provided that the rules below are observed.

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