Looking for a traditional Israeli way to celebrate Yom Ha'Atzma'ut? Try the annual Israel Independence Day Festival, pictured above, this year on Sunday, May 18, from noon to 5 p.m., at Hansen Dam Park in Sun Valley. The park is sun-drenched, loud pop music sung in Hebrew is blaring, and the scent of Israeli food -- grilled meat and spicy falafel, fills the air. Families bring picnic blankets and umbrellas, and there are children's amusement rides, as well as a stage for performers. This year's theme is "Celebrating Jewish Unity for Israel," and the event features a Sephardic Heritage Pavilion. And if you bring some Israelis with you, chances are they will run into friends from their hometown. The event is organized by the Council of Israeli Organizations and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. It is sponsored by the Jewish Federation Council, AIPAC and Israel Bonds. For more information, call (818) 757-0123.
Ha'Atzma'ut (Israel Independence Day) Celebrations:
- * Kol Tikvah celebrates with music and comedy, featuring Herschel Fox, comedian and Jewish storyteller; Aliza Kashi, Israeli singer/entertainer; Tova Morcos, musical director; University of Judaism Concert Singers; hosted by Cantor Caren Glasser, Sun., May 18, 4 p.m., 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 348-0670.
- *Temple Beth Am's Pressman Academy Day School, Religious School and Nursery School celebrate with a festive Mincha/Maariv service and presentation on the theme of Israel, followed by a community celebration, Mon., May 12, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7353.
- *Temple Isaiah celebrates at its Shabbat service, Fri., May 9, 7:30 p.m., 10345 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 277-2772.
- *Temple Ner Maarav celebrates at its Shabbat service, followed by an Israeli-themed dinner and entertainment by Yosi Levy, Fri., May 9, 6 p.m., 17730 Magnolia Blvd., Encino. RSVP (818) 345-7833.
- *Temple Ramat Zion's Sisterhood sponsors a program featuring food, festivities and fun, Mon., May 12, 8 p.m., 17655 Devonshire St., Northridge. (818) 360-1881.
- *University Synagogue celebrates at its Shabbat family service, led by kindergarten and first-grade classes, Fri., May 16, 7:30 p.m., 4915 Alton Parkway, Irvine. (714) 553-3535.