Israeli Independence Day Celebration Moved to the Esplanade

“This year, we should be in the heart of Boston,” says JCC President


By Susie Davidson

Advocate Correspondent


BOSTON - “From the Heart of Boston to the Heart of Israel” is how Greater Boston JCC President Mark Sokoll refers to this year’s Israeli Independence Day festival, which has just been confirmed for the Esplanade’s Lederman Field.

The event, to occur Sunday, June 9 from noon onward, rain or shine, will be a grand effort, orchestrated by Jewish organizational leaders on behalf of the entire Jewish community, to reflect support for and solidarity with Israel.

“We all believe that the events that have taken place in the world have affected us as Jews and as Americans. Consequently, we felt that this year, we should be in the very heart of Boston,” says Sokoll.

“The decision was made by JCC and CJP personnel,” he reports, “in consultation and cooperation with the Jewish community. Barry Shrage, Nancy Kaufman, Teddy Benard-Cutler (CJP Board Chairman) and others were integral, but all those in leadership positions were involved.”

The process transpired over the past few weeks, and Lederman Field, which is located on the Charles River, near the Mass. General Hospital buildings and behind the Museum of Science, was ultimately selected. The site is past the Hatch Shell heading towards the Science Museum and is adjacent to the playground and Community Boating area. It is a locale where many traditional Hatch Shell events have recently been shifted.

And of course, the majestic Zakim Bridge is viewable in the background, which will only add to the sentiment of the day.

 “This year, we really want to invite as many of the folks in the Jewish and the general community,” emphasizes Sokoll, “to a day that’s interactive and fun, and conveys a celebration of our connection to the people of Israel, especially in these extraordinary times.

 “Our sense is that this will be more exciting, and bigger than past festivals. We are very excited to be back in Boston.”

Co-Chairs of this year’s celebration are JCC Board Member Linda Brodt, for the second consecutive year, and Joyce Zakim. “We are thrilled to have Joyce aboard,” says Sokoll.


Brookline Town Administrator Richard Kelliher expressed support for the event, no matter where it is held. “It’s been moved around in the past,” he says, “depending on various factors. I’m sure that in Boston, there will be more than the 25,000 or so we had in Brookline.”

“The Town,” he affirms, “has always been pleased to host the event, and we would certainly look forward to the opportunity to do so again in the future.”

“Brookline was more of a wonderful street fest,” says Sokoll. “This will be different, perhaps more of a large-scale celebration.”

Planned are two sound stages, family activities, food and a lot more. This year, there will be even more of an emphasis on Israel, and Sokoll reports a major outpouring of volunteer energy.


 “Come and experience the culture, the sounds, the feeling, the beauty of Israel,” invites Sokoll.

And with extensive planning and proper security, he promises that every effort will be made to guarantee a safe and enjoyable time for all.

“Our goal is to have a fantastic, joyous, celebration.”


For information, or to volunteer, participate, or just show support, please call 617-558-6500.







Richard Kelliher,


We put a call into the JCC to find out the latest bec we haven’t had formal confirmation yet.   Newton JCC – they do staff work over there on this, and/or CJP


They’ve had the event in Boston a couple of years ago and from time to time the event has been moved around dep. On crowd size etc.


If there’s an interests in focusing on the Esplanade, that comes from within the JCC CJP and other organizing groups


Certainly if there’s a ….the town would be accommodating.


IID is an event that’s sponsored and run by the JCC and CJP just like the Marathon is funded by the Bos Athl Assoc – they apply for permits

It’s not a town event

We’re waiting to hear ourselves.

If there’s an interest in beefing up the crowd size

More than the 25,000