Live in Melbourne? Some important dates from Zionism Victoria and UIA

March 25, 2016 by Eileen Freed
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Zionism Victoria, in partnership with United Israel Appeal, is pleased to announce its 2016 schedule of events for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

These include two exciting new initiatives that have been added to the line-up for Yom Ha’atzmaut: Blue & White Night and Israel Shabbat.

Yom Hazikaron

The Yom Hazikaron Commemoration will take place Tuesday 10 May, 7:30pm at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University Clayton. This year, the event will mark 60 years since the 1956 Sinai Campaign and 10 years since the Second Lebanon War. A Memorial Room will open at 7:00pm, and Erev Shirei Zikaron (communal singing) will take place immediately following the commemoration. Admission is free.

Blue & White Night

Blue & White Night, a completely re-imagined Erev Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, will take place 11 May 2016 from 7:30-10:30pm. Instead of the traditional community Yom Ha’atzmaut concert, Blue & White Night will offer adults a new celebratory experience with music, dancing, cocktail bar and Israel-inspired street food.

“We recognised that the community was seeking more targeted and interactive experiences for Yom Ha’atzmaut”, said Sharene Hambur, Zionism Victoria President. “We’re very excited to trial this new concept – a fantastic festive atmosphere for adults to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day together.

Beth Weizmann Community Centre will be converted into a blue and white wonderland with two fabulous event spaces.

The Main Marquee will feature live music led by Adam Starr’s Yom Ha’atzmaut band; Israeli dancing; Shira B’Tsibur (communal singing); and Israeli DJ Idan Blu who will spin the latest Israeli club music to dance the night away.

The Tel Aviv Café will offer a mellower vibe with a variety of acoustic musical performances and the community’s first ever Yom Ha’atzmaut Story Slam where some of Melbourne’s best yarn-weavers will share their Israel stories.

Admission to Blue & White Night is $25, and those who purchase tickets in advance will receive their first drink free. Tickets are available on-line at

Yom Ha’atzmaut Family Festival

Family festival

Family festival

For the fourth year running, Beth Weizmann Community Centre will transform into an Israeli street festival complete with great Israeli-themed activities and fun for children and their families. The Family Festival is scheduled for Thursday 12 May, 4-7:30pm and will feature a petting zoo, interactive drum workshops, arts and crafts projects, Krav Maga and delicious food options. Admission is by Gold Coin Donation.

Israel Shabbat

Israel Shabbat is another exciting new initiative aimed at expanding the community’s celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut. Israel Shabbat is scheduled for the Shabbat immediately following Yom Ha’atzmaut, 13-14 May, coincidentally, the very day on the secular calendar when Israel declared its Independence.

“We are aware that a dance party is not for everybody and that the Family Festival is for a particular audience. We wanted to extend the reach of Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations as widely as possible”, said Hambur. “Bringing Israel Shabbat to Melbourne’s shule communities seemed like a great way to make that happen.”

Participating synagogues will offer their congregants a range of special Israel-related programming on the day which may include Israel-themed dinners or kiddushes, special Israel-related activities for the children or special speakers. Jewish Agency shlichim will be on hand to share a few words or to work with youth directors to develop special children’s programming. Zionism Victoria will provide various materials to assist participating congregations. A complete list of participating congregations is available on the Zionism Victoria website.

Other Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut Programs

In addition to these major events, Zionism Victoria hosts or co-sponsors two other community programs marking Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

An hour-long age-appropriate ceremony for primary school-aged children marking the transition between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut will take place Wednesday 11 May, 5:30pm at Beth Weizmann Community Centre, and the Zionist community’s young adults will hold their Israel Birthday Bash, 11 May at 9:00pm at Jacksons Lounge in the Trak Centre.

“I believe this year’s calendar of events offers everyone a way to commemorate and celebrate”, said Hambur. “Our community can be proud of the lengths to which we go to mark these important dates on the Zionist calendar.”

For more details about Zionism Victoria’s Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut events, visit or contact the office at or 9272 5544.

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