Kaleidoscope Israel deserves our support

JEWISH LIGHT EDITORIAL

Kaleidoscope Israel @ 60, the community-wide celebration of the 60th anniversary of the independence of the modern State of Israel is in full swing, and it is an occasion which deserves to be celebrated not only by the Jewish community of Greater St. Louis, but by the entire community.

The year-long series of exciting events is already up and running under the co-chairmanship of three generations of one local Jewish family: Diane and Paul Gallant, their children Amy and Steve Gallant and grandchildren Richie and Tommy Gallant. Michael Staenberg is honorary chair of the event. Kaleidoscope Israel is made possible through the capable staffing and coordination of the Central Agency for Jewish Education, and generously funded by the Lubin-Green Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

Diane and Paul Gallant are no strangers to community-wide celebrations of our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the State of Israel. Back in the mid-seventies, the Gallants co-chaired Israel Expo 75, which transformed the Jewish Community Center’s Wohl Building into a virtual replica of Jerusalem. Over 75,000 people from the Jewish and general communities attended Israel Expo during its unprecedented activities.

“Just as a kaleidoscope shows the full spectrum of colors, so does Kaleidoscope Israel cover the full spectrum of our Jewish community, including all ages, all streams of Judaism and participation by many organizations, temples, synagogues and Jewish schools, but it will also cover the full spectrum of all aspects of the dynamic and incredible Jewish State of Israel,” said the Gallants in a statement announcing the celebration.

Among the areas to be highlighted are those dealing with business and science, bio-medical advances, culture, ethnicity, archeology and history.

“Numerous events are planned that will appeal to all ages, and will be hosted by a variety of congregations and organizations who have joined under the banner of Kaleidoscope Israel to help mark this important milestone,” said Paul Gallant. Added Diane Gallant, “The entire St. Louis Jewish community, Jews and non-Jews alike, are encouraged to attend and to celebrate.”

The St. Louis Jewish Light is pleased to be among the Jewish organizations not only supporting but actively participating in Kaleidoscope Israel. The Light is sponsoring a photo contest in conjunction with Kaleidoscope Israel. Children, teens and young adults are encouraged to submit photos that reflect their Visions of Judaism. Community volunteer Sherri Sherman is chairing the St. Louis Jewish Light Israel Photo Contest.

The entire Gallant family traveled together to Israel last year, and the experience deepened their commitment to forging even closer and ongoing ties between the Jewish State and the Jewish community of St. Louis. Steve Gallant commented, “Our family trip to Israel was truly a unique experience which helped draw us to the Kaleidoscope Israel project.” Added Amy Gallant, “we are so proud of our sons Richie and Tommy for stepping up to the plate to put together an outstanding coalition of Jewish kids, both youth groups and individuals from all branches of the Jewish faith to draw our future leaders into a positive connection with the State of Israel.”

From May 3-9, Kaleidoscope Israel will host KaleidoFest Week at the JCC, which will give everyone the opportunity to celebrate. The Robert Edison Gymnasium will be transformed into an Israeli shuk, or marketplace, complete with traditional food, an Israeli coffee house, art, entertainment and cultural activities for all ages. Featured vendors will offer art, jewelry and other high quality items at a broad range of prices. There will also be a replica of the Western Wall, where notes can be inserted. The notes will be transported to Israel to be placed in the actual Western Wall. On May 13, an exciting event will take place at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, featuring Israel’s leading international concert and recording star, Noa — known in Israel as Achinoam Nini.

Said Diane Gallant, “We are truly honored and thrilled that Israel’s top recording artist will be the featured entertainment at our concert gala.” Added Tommy and Richie Gallant, “We are totally pumped that so many teens and other kids of all ages and backgrounds have joined in this effort to celebrate Israel. There will be lots of fun opportunities for everyone.”

The St. Louis Jewish Light warmly encourages our readers to fully participate in all aspects of Kaleidoscope Israel @ 60. Kaleidoscope Israel will give the Show-Me State an opportunity to showcase the Jewish State of Israel and present its full spectrum of gifts to the world. Israel is turning 60! Let’s celebrate!

Published Feb. 13, 2008

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