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Planning for thousands is no easy task.
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
I I I .4' .
1 11111 P "
PHOTO BY DAN LIPPITT
tiv • 4. NW.*
ichael Watts just be- predictable Michigan weather
came a frequent visitor provides sunshine over West
at the Maple-Drake Bloomfield. (Last year, walk-
Jewish Community ers had to pull out their cold-
Center's soccer field.
weather coats and dodge
By Sunday, he figures he raindrops.)
will have made almost a dozen
Organizers and volunteers
trips to the open field. By spent months planning for the
Sunday, he will have the field festival. Mr. Watts is respon-
transformed into an outdoor sible for much of the logistics,
ment, family activi-
ties, children's rides
and an on-the-ground
Mr. Watts owns a
keting company in
Plymouth. The event
he's planning for is
the Incredible Israel
Fest, a daylong cele-
bration of the 47th
anniversary of the Thousands participate in the annual
Walk for Israel.
State of Israel.
As with previous lo-
cal Israel Independence Day but lay leaders and communi-
celebrations, the 3.5-mile walk ty organizations are making
will kick off a day of festivities. their own contributions. Some
Unlike past celebrations, this are putting up fliers in area
May 21 event will continue businesses, while others will
long into the evening, offering volunteer their time to staff the
more entertainment and ac- event.
When all these efforts are
The walk, which begins at 1 combined, organizers hope the
p.m., consistently draws the day will go as scheduled. Even
largest crowds of any local if the weather does not coop-
Jewish event — between 6,000 erate, the festival can be moved
and 8,000 participants. This inside the JCC.
year, with the added programs
"Our role is to make sure
and performers, planners ex- everyone knows his responsi-
pect as many as twice those bilities, and how to help trou-
numbers, as long as the un- ISRAEL FEST page 8
(c ) \R
f • \
Miracle missionaires uncover new meaning
during their 10-day Israel experience. RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER
he siren began to wail as Lee
and Harry Blau of metro Detroit stood
praying in a Jerusalem synagogue.
They watched their bus driver
leave. Then their tour guide.
The year was 1973 and war
The Blaus took a bus to the airport
that night. En route, they picked up soldiers
mobilizing for battle against Egypt and Syria.
The couple hoped that some day they would be
able to finish their trip in a more peaceful Israel.
Re-Opening The Book
That opportunity came this month with the sec-
ond Michigan Miracle Mission.
"It has been fantastic," said Ms. Blau, standing
last week on a stone balcony in the Old City of
Jerusalem. "I'm so proud to be a Jew. I've
cried a lot."
Behind every Missionaire there is a sto-
ry. The 10-day trip — sponsored by
Detroit's Jewish Federation and The Jewish News
— attracted travelers from diverse backgrounds.
Some, like the Blaus, remember Israel from
MISSION page 30
re-open JCC library.
Class of '95
Lee Keeps. page 14
High-school seniors make the grade.
Contents on page 3