By Ilanit Chernick
It was like a Macy’s wonderland with an Israeli flavor as Jerusalem was alight with the Chanukah spirit. Large balloons, marching bands, entertainers on stilts and laughter — a lot of laughter.
Children waved Israeli flags, youth movements sang and chanted, there was not a sad face among the crowd as the city’s residents took part in a Macy’s-like Chanukah parade on Dec. 3, titled “Together Jerusalem.”
The parade’s theme was “Israel standing in solidarity with the Diaspora.” Over 5,000 people took part.
Under one of the large balloons stood IDF soldiers in uniform who carried the strings belonging to well-known Muppet character Animal, his head sticking out of a large drum.
Chinese dragons, a smurf and a soldier from the “Nutcracker” also floated through the streets as the crowd oohed and ahhed.
Modern caricature balloons of David Ben-Gurion, a tattoo-laden Theodor Herzl, a soldier sticking out of a boot and a Super Jew balloon flew through the streets.
The Israel Police led one set of the parade as its marching band drummed while the audience clapped along as it marched down King David Street in downtown Jerusalem.
The small crowds on the sides of the road cheeredas a second jazz band accompanied Ben Gurion and Herzl, while large floats including a globe of the world and a pirate ship topped with an Israeli flag ambled down the street.
There were even a few Emoji balloons, including ice-creams and a large, inflatable “in love” smiley face.
A group of teenagers danced on top of an old-styled steam train float as it passed by. A large crowd of people from across the world held flags from their respective countries.
A large contingent of Ethiopian Jews also formed part of the parade, heading to the Sultan’s Pool near the Old City, where a concert awaited participants.
The crowd began to swell and the atmosphere was electric with a mix of tourists and locals stopping to admire the fun.
“It’s very Macy’s-like, but it has a real Israel flare to it, you know?” said Danni Cohen who was visiting from New York.
“It’s great to see Israel taking on the festivities and bringing the different facets of Judaism together.
“It’s fun to be here — I just stumbled across it, and I’m happy I did,” he said.
Another member of the crowd who only identified herself as Michelle stood with her two children ages seven and five.
“We just made aliyah and I thought it would be a great way to show the kids the spirit this city and its people have to offer,” she said, as both children posed for photographs with the large Smurf balloon flying behind them.
“It reminds me a lot of Thanksgiving, but there’s a really Jewish flavor to it, it’s great.”
Both children said they loved the balloons and the entertainers on stilts the most.
“And the sweets they gave us,” the five-year-old added.