Unity Day shapes up in Melbourne

Unity Day encourages communities to come together as they did during the Bring Back Our Boys campaign.

ISRAELI food, live music and a lively atmosphere will be some of the many offerings at Magen David Adom’s (MDA) Unity Day celebrations being held on Wednesday, June 1 at St Kilda Town Hall.

Encouraging Jewish communities around the world to unite and celebrate our unique bond, it is a chance for all segments of the Melbourne community to gather as one.

“It’s about people coming together and showing unity,” said event coordinator Emma Lipson. “No matter background, belief, religious or irreligious, secular, age, sex, etc – it’s for everyone to come together.”

With support from the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Unity Day was founded by the mothers of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, the three Israeli boys who were kidnapped and subsequently killed by their captors in June 2014.

The day represents both a commemoration and a celebration, in that it hopes to re-create that sense of global togetherness experienced by Jewish communities worldwide as part of the Bring Back Our Boys campaign that followed the kidnapping.

Lipson explained, “It was started by the parents of the three boys; they were pretty overwhelmed by the unity shown around the world at the time of the kidnapping and killing.”

While events will be happening around the world, with several highlights occurring in Jerusalem, Melbourne’s Unity Day will see an Israeli shuk set up with more than 50 stalls.

Lipson said the community can expect “jewellery, Judaica, arts and crafts, homewares and everything in between”.

“There will also be stalls for community organisations, henna, massage and face painting.”

Seeking some relaxation in the hustle and bustle of the “shuk” will be a breeze with a Moroccan casbah on offer for revellers to eat their pita and listen to live music.

There will be several live performances throughout the evening, including bands, a DJ and Israeli dancing, as well as a personal message delivered to the Melbourne community from the parents of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal.

Including MDA’s Unity Day event in Melbourne, more than a million people worldwide are expected to take part in over 100 events in 93 cities and 21 countries across the globe.

MDA Unity Day is on Wednesday, June 1 at St Kilda Town Hall from 5-9.30pm.

For more information, visit www.magendavidadom.org.au.