June 5, 2007
Israel in the Gardens
Perhaps the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco hosts its annual celebration of Israel’s Independence Day a month after everyone else because they hope by June, the sun might decide to poke its head out of the clouds. Well, it didn’t. Sunday, June 3rd was cloudy, windy and frigid in downtown San Francisco, but no one seemed to mind except me. I was wearing flip flops and a short sleeved t-shirt and I was not happy about it.
San Francisco is a bit outside the reach of The Jewish Journal calendar section, so what was I doing all the way up there? I design shirts and tank tops with IDF logos so when I got wind that 15,000 Jews were going to be gathering at Yerba Buena Gardens to celebrate Israel, I signed up for a booth.
Besides the weather, the SF festival was rather nice. It felt more organized, more civilized than the sprawling, crawling mass of people that flood Woodley Park every year. Maybe it was the absence of Israelis. The multi-terraced beautifully landscaped Yerba Buena Gardens are surrounded by high rise buildings and have a very Upper Eastside New York feel to them. The people seemed more pleasant too. They were polite, they didn’t haggle over prices, they smiled and waited patiently to be helped.
Other noteworthy bits about Israel in the Gardens 2007: Rita performed. Police patrolled. “Green” was the theme. They ran out of falafel at 3 p.m.