"We deeply appreciate the Jewish Community here in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley. It is absolutely our pleasure to welcome them to the City Hall and recognize that community today. Raising flags here in Allentown is a symbol to our commitment to diversity and coming together as a community to celebrate that diversity." -Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk
A chilly morning met us as we converged at City Hall. However, no chill could have kept us from celebrating this momentous occasion! The event began with words from head of the Community Relations Council Bruce Reich. All speakers addressed not only the adult community, but also the bright-eyed youth from the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley.
State Representative Mike Schlossberg addressed the attentive kids, welcoming them to say hi for him to his daughter in class. She attends the Jewish Day School but was not in attendance for this flag raising for fear of her dad embarrassing her! Kids and adults alike erupted with laughter.
What happened next was beautiful. The audience respectfully listened as the children sang "Hatikvah", solidifying in our hearts Jewish pride. Then, we all joined in the U.S. national anthem. As Mariska van Aalst, who was reading a statement from U.S. Rep. Susan Wild said, the story of Jewish America is the story of America itself.
After a prayer from Rabbi Yaacov Halperin, Rabbi Seth Phillips and Rabbi Moshe Re'em, a student approached and raised up the Israeli flag. Regardless of the chilly morning, the warmth in our hearts kept us plenty warm!
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