More than 1,000 Tucsonans of all ages turned out April 26 to celebrate Israel’s 67th Independence Day at the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s sculpture garden, organized by the Weintraub Israel Center in cooperation with numerous community partners. Participants enjoyed music, food and activity booths centered on the theme of riding an Egged bus tour of Israel.
Based on an annual ceremony in Israel, the 12 Torches ceremony honored representatives of local Jewish and non-Jewish organizations with connections to Israel. Here, Bruce Wright of Tech Parks Arizona kindles a torch, as (from left) General Ted Maxwell of the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard, Bill Kugelman and Cameron Busby representing the March of the Living, Emily Bregman for Congregation Anshei Israel’s Gilo Twinning program , Alistair Symon of IBM and Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz of Tucson Hebrew Academy look on. Other torch lighters included John Winchester of Christians United For Israel, Mike McKendrick of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, Cheryl and Howard Toff of Congregation Chofetz Chayim, Bobby Present of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steve Caine of the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation’s Birthright Israel and Israel Fellow programs, and Marnea Adams, Rebecca Crow, Ken Miller and Hadas Ravkovitch of the Partnership2Gether program.
Girls stomp grapes at the “bus stop” for the Golan Heights, which is known for its wineries.
Another station along the imaginary bus route simulated riding a bicycle through the streets of Tel Aviv.