Celebrate Israel@70

Join the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and Jewish organizations across the Pioneer Valley as we celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary.


A weekend with guest speaker Yossi Klein Halevi

For Israel’s 70th anniversary, our community will be host to Yossi Klein Halevi for three days, and four presentations. There is simply no Israeli journalist quite as incisive or eloquent writing for an American audience. He is the author of three renowned books, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, described by the New York Times as a “book of burning importance”, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jews Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, a extraordinary and heartbreaking study of interfaith relationships and his masterpiece, Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation. He crafts books that are serious historical studies by a masterful storyteller.  Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren , who wrote his own book on the Six Days of War, calls Like Dreamers “the Israeli epic.”

Yossi's fourth book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbors, will be released in May. Attempting to break the agonizing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli commentator and award-winning author of Like Dreamers directly addresses his Palestinian neighbors in this taut and provocative book, empathizing with Palestinian suffering and longing for reconciliation as he explores how the conflict looks through Israeli eyes.

Halevi’s letters speak not only to his Palestinian neighbor, but to all concerned global citizens, helping us understand the painful choices confronting Israelis and Palestinians that will ultimately help determine the fate of the region.

Yossi is presently a senior fellow at the distinguished Shalom Hartman Institute.  He speaks as well as he writes. Come hear him once, and you’ll want to come to all his talks. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required as noted.

Friday, April 13
Sinai Temple
1100 Dickinson Street, Springfield
6:00 PM Hors d’oeuvres
6:30 PM Service
7:30 PM The Future of the Israel-Diaspora Relationship
8:30 PM Dessert
All are welcome. Dietary laws observed. Registration is required. Please register by April 6 by email here or call (413) 372-9755.

Saturday, April 14
B’nai Torah
2 Eunice Drive, Longmeadow
Morning Services
Dvar Torah by Yossi Klein Halevi
All are welcome

Temple Beth El
979 Dickinson Street, Springfield
1:00 PM Letters to My Palestinian Friends
All are welcome 

Sunday, April 15 
Jewish Community of Amherst
742 Main Street, Amherst
10:00 AM Israel: What Gives Me Hope
All are welcome

PJ Library at JGS: Lifecare

Sunday, April 15  2:00 PM

PJ Library members and residents of JGS:Lifecare will come together for an afternoon of Israel themed crafts and storytelling as they celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday. You can’t have a birthday party without cake. Revelers will enjoy a piece of cake to close out the festivities. Contact Kim Starkman at 413-737-4313, ext. 257 or send an email here for more information.

JGS Lifecare
770 Converse Street, Longmeadow

Lander-Grinspoon Academy Celebration

Thursday, April 19
This event is for school aged children only.

The educational institutions on the Northampton campus will collaborate to have a celebration together for the entire school day. The students will participate in an archaeological dig and create mosaics; participate in a "kumzitz," a traditional Israeli gathering around a campfire to sing traditional Israeli songs; and cook traditional Israeli food with local chef, John Grossman. In addition, we will serve birthday cake that has been decorated by the students to look like the map of Israel, share presentations created by students about Israel, and end the day with additional singing. Call Lander-Grinspoon Academy, (413) 584-6622, for information.

UMass Hillel Musical

Sunday, April 29  7:00 PM

UMass Hillel celebrates Israel’s 70 years with Israel Story’s live show “Mixtape” - The Stories Behind Israel’s Ultimate Playlist.

Crank up the volume and join us for a dazzling musical journey. In its brand new live show, ‘Israel Story’ - the country’s leading podcast and radio show - explores seven decades of local tunes, in celebration of one big milestone birthday. They take us behind the scenes of some of Israel’s most (and least…) iconic songs, and unpack the dramas, complexities and social tensions involved. So mark your calendars, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable evening of phenomenal live music, incredible visuals and - more than anything else - the surprising brand of ‘Israel Story’ stories you’ve all come to love.

Pre-registration required. Visit umasshillel.org/israelstory.

UMass Hillel
Room N151, Integrative Learning Center at UMass, Amherst


Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival

The 13th Annual Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival celebrates Israel’s 70th birthday with a specially curated “Framing Israel” program that shines a spotlight on contemporary Israeli cinema. Visit PVJFF.org for details.


Saturday, March 17  8:00 PM
Longmeadow High School
Auditorium, 95 Grassy Gutter Road, Longmeadow

Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Sunday, March 18  11:00 AM
Springfield JCC
Goldstein Auditorium, Neal Webber Building, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield

The Settlers

Sunday, March 18  2:00 PM
Springfield JCC
Goldstein Auditorium, Neal Webber Building, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield


Sunday, March 18  7:00 PM
Amherst Cinema
28 Amity Street, Amherst

East Jerusalem West Jerusalem

Monday, March 19  7:00 PM
Westfield State University
Dever Stage, Parenzo Hall, 577 Western Avenue, Westfield


Francine Klagsbrun,
Author of Lioness

Monday, April 9  7:00 PM

Lioness: Golda Meir
and the Nation of Israel

Lioness is the definitive biography of Golda Meir: the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel and one of the most notable women of our time. Golda brought fiery oratory, plainspoken appeals, and shrewd deal-making to the cause to which she had dedicated her life — the welfare and security of the State of Israel. Admission is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and autograph.

Springfield JCC
Goldstein Auditorium, Neal Webber Building, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield



Celebrate with the Jewish Federation & Springfield JCC

Sunday, April 22  3:00 PM - Activities  4:00 PM - Concert

Everyone is invited to our family-oriented Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration! It’s an afternoon of games, activities, crafts, kosher Israeli food, and much more. To cap the day, we will host a community concert featuring Hadar Orshalimy and Sheldon Low. Admission is free and open to the public. Kosher food will be available for purchase.

Springfield JCC
Goldstein Auditorium, Neal Webber Building, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield


Congregation Sons of Zion & Rodphey Shalom

Sunday, April 22  11:00 AM

Celebrate Israel’s 70th Anniversary with a Round Table presentation. Reflecting on their personal experiences will be a Sabra who was about 10 in 1948, an Israeli soldier in 1973, an American in Israel in 1967, and an Israeli about 25 yrs. old, presently living in the U.S. Audience comments will follow, as well as an Israeli buffet. Dietary laws observed.

Congregation Sons of Zion
378 Maple Street, Holyoke

Support for Israel@70 was provided by the Anna P. Housen Fund of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.