More than 100 members of Howard County’s Jewish community came together May 18 for the “Blue & White Party” celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, or Israeli Independence Day. The gathering at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock was presented by the Jewish Federation of Howard County and the area’s Jewish congregations, including Beth Shalom, Columbia Jewish Congregation and Temple Isaiah.

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“We were very pleased,” said Hadar Shahar, the outgoing shlicha, or Israeli emissary, for the federation. “We had a lot of walk-ins, about 50 more than we expected.”

Besides falafel and hummus, beer and wine, and a blue-and-white sheet cake, attendees enjoyed a performance by The Highlights, a Baltimore-based Israeli-American folk duo, Molly and Saar Gez Krief, who performed Israeli musical selections.

“It was a very special event,” said Shahar, who organized the community-wide celebration. “We also had a lot of unaffiliated people attend.”

The celebration was bittersweet for Shahar, who will be returning to her native Jerusalem next month after two years at the federation.

“It’s been great,” she said. “Howard County has been very welcoming. …. Sixty-nine years have passed, and Israel is still standing strong. What a beautiful reason to come together as a community.”

Photos by Ed Bunyan

Top photo: The Highlights, an Israeli musical duo, perform for the Blue and White Party. (Ed Bunyan)


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