Photos: IsraFest celebration at Chicago's Daley Plaza

Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut, which commemorates the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The holiday is celebrated on the fifth day of Iyar, according to the Hebrew calendar. However, when the fifth of Iyar falls on a Monday, the holiday is celebrated on Tuesday – as was the case this year.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is often referred to as Israel’s birthday. This year, Israel turned 66 years old – and a party was held to celebrate the occasion at Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

With the sun finally shining bright on a relatively warm spring day, nearly 1,000 people came out to celebrate the holiday at the official IsraFest kick-off in Chicago. The outdoor festivities, held from 11:30 am – 2 pm, included Israeli food, live music, exhibits showcasing Israeli arts and culture, technical innovation, tourism, and more.

The afternoon events culminated with a live performance by Mika Karni and the Kol Dodi Trio, an ensemble that combines traditional Jewish melodies with African ethnic rhythms.

Here are a few scenes from Israfest at Chicago’s Daley Plaza:

IsraFest continues in full force with the second annual Israel Jazz and World Music Festival, which is held at various venues throughout the city from Tuesday, May 6 – Saturday, May 17, 2014. The festival features performances by a variety of world-renown Israeli musicians.

The celebrations conclude with the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival held at St. Paul Woods in north suburban Morton Grove on Sunday, June 8, 2014. Headline performers for the one-day festival include Peter Himmelman, Maya Johanna, Yemen Blues, and Edon Pinchot. At the festival, you can enjoy Israeli food, dancing, art projects, and more.

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