“Yom huledet sameach!” exclaimed American actor Joshua Malina, wishing the state of Israel a happy birthday in Hebrew. “Seventy-two — eze yofi [how great]! If you ask me, you don’t look a day over 70.”
Malina joined fellow actors Shira Haas and Ben Platt, as well as celebrated sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer and reggae rapper Matisyahu, for a virtual ceremony Apr. 29 celebrating Israel’s 72nd Independence Day.
Organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and broadcast on YouTube and Facebook, the hour-long ceremony also featured Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“Although we cannot be together this year, this crisis has made us feel more than ever that we are one family with shared history, shared value and shared destiny,” he said.
The program had nearly 10,000 views shortly after it finished.
“I’m very proud to be part of a Jewish family that extends around the world,” the Tel Aviv-born Haas, who stars in the acclaimed Netflix series “Unorthodox,” told Eric Fingerhut, president of JFNA.
Platt, who won the Tony Award for playing the title role in the musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” appeared with his brothers Ben and Henry, singing the Hebrew song “Ahavat Olam.”
The program also featured a segment on how Israeli scientists are working to come up with treatments to fight the coronavirus. In addition, chefs from around the world discussed how to make and eat falafel.
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