Los Angeles rang in the new Jewish year on Sunday with a display boasting two paratroopers diving through the air with an Israeli flag, 60 people blowing the shofar (ram's horn), and 60 students singing Israel's national anthem, accompanied by Noa Tishby.
The ceremony also marked a historical precedent: For the first time an Israeli flag was raised outside a Consulate's doors in the US, and it stood waving openly on one of the city's main boulevards.
Consul General Jacob Dayan was proud of this achievement. "When I came to Los Angeles, it was 11 months ago. One of the first questions I asked was why we don't have an Israeli flag outside the consulate," Dayan said in an interview last week. "I was told, 'You know, it's security.'"
However after conducting his own investigation into the matter Dayan discovered that the flag was openly displayed in countries considered more dangerous than the US.
When he inquired about security regulations he found that there was no specific prohibition. It was then that he decided to set the precedence and exhibit the flag.
Sixty shofars blowing during ceremony (Photo: Peter Halmagyi)
The flag planted ceremoniously on LA's Wilshire Boulevard was delivered from Sderot's public school, which Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited in June. President Shimon Peres handed the flag to him as a gift.
"As we mark 60 years of Israeli independence, as we paint Wilshire Boulevard blue and white, we must reaffirm in one voice our support for the Jewish state," Villaraigosa told those gathered for the flag-raising ceremony.
After Hatikva, the crowd was treated to a special performance by Macy Gray, who sang the US national anthem.