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October 18, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-18

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The Price Of A Homeland

Lipsey's e-mail drove home precisely why we Jews in
ancy Lipsey is a volunteer on the Israeli army
America care so deeply about our ancestral homeland, why
base Mashrap, one of the many small bases that
we must never compromise Israel's security and why the
comprise the military stronghold of Tel-
counter protest at U-M was so vital.
Hashomer, outside of Tel Aviv.
The countries represented in the newest corps of volun-
Mashrap is one of the Israel Defense Forces' medical
at Mashrap are Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Australia,
equipment centers. It dispenses medical equipment, sup-
and South Africa in addition to Israel and the
plies and medicines to army bases across the Jewish state. It
also fills emergency medical needs arising from natural dis-
Hirsch, a Canadian living in England, told Lipsey:
asters, such as this summer's flooding in India.
"There is no free lunch when it comes to Israel. I expect
Lipsey was a Jewish professional in Detroit and Atlanta
Israel to be here if I need her. I can't just expect it, I have
before moving to Israel in June for a year of study at the
to work to ensure it."
WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students)
Rob, a New Yorker on his first trip to Israel, said: "My
Institute's International Center for Hebrew
think I am crazy. Israel is at war. I had to do what I
and Jewish Studies. The independent insti-
tute is in Arad, a Judean desert town.
Sara, from. Vancouver, has grandchildren living in Israel.
As part of her. studies, Lipsey and 35 fel-
She told Lipsey: "One day, they will all have to serve in the
low students, ranging in age from 24-85,
IDF. I just wanted to set the best example for them. If
performed two to three weeks of volunteer
can do it, they can."
work at Mashrap- following Sukkot.
said she "can only imagine the sigh of relief
The first night, Lipsey's group met in a
breathed by Jews around the world in 1948" — the year of
ROBERT A. lecture hall to get acquainted.
Israel's independence.
"Everyone expressed a deep love for Israel
"Every Jew today, no matter where they are, should feel a
as the primary reason for being here,"
sense of comfort that they can always go to Israel if there is
Lipsey told me through electronic mail.
trouble," Lipsey said.
She added: "Most of the volunteers in my group are here
She said she was taught to always "have my pass-
out of a sense of frustration. Frustration with the
up to date and accessible."
way the media are portraying Israel's struggle.
parents didn't teach me this lesson so I
Frustration about what diaspora Jewry can do for
could jet off to Paris," she said. "They understand
Israel. Frustration about what their friends, Jewish
the reality that even in the United States, Canada,
or not, are saying about Israel."
England or any other comfortable country, the
Hundreds of volunteers serve IDF bases thanks to
time might come to leave and go to the only safe
Sar-El, a Hebrew acronym for "Sherut Le-Yisroel
haven for Jews — Israel."
Service for Israel," one of the volunteer options that
WUJS participants can choose from to give back to
Standing As One
the state. The Jewish Agency for Israel, which
Nancy Lipsey
receives Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
Lipsey speaks eloquently to how Israel resonates for
funding, heavily subsidizes the volunteers' program.
Jews fleeing persecution in Europe or the former
Since 1982, the IDF has been blessed with WUJS volun-
Soviet Union, Jews who are destitute from Argentina or
teers from 35 countries.
Ethiopia, and Jewish immigrants from anywhere, rich or
For the past 24 months, the IDF has defended the 54-
poor, educated or illiterate.
year-old land of our forebears from the latest intifida (upris-
Lipsey, former Southeast Region director for Women's
ing). The Palestinian violence and terrorism have claimed at
American ORT, isn't sure if she'll make aliyah or return to
least 625 lives.
America; regardless, she'll continue in Jewish communal
Lipsey, who ran the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit's Book Fair from 1995 to 1998, said
She reminds that there's "a price to pay" for the "sense of
Sar-El gives the volunteers in her group "a chance to con-
comfort" Jews transplanted to Israel enjoy.
tribute in some small way to the war effort and to the
"We have to do our part to ensure that Israel exists for
morale of the country."
this generation and for the future," she said.
Citing a Jerusalem Post report that 60 percent of Israelis
believe they are fighting for their country's survival, she
Love Of Israel
argues convincingly that the price to pay "has to be paid by
Ironically, Lipsey's e-mail arrived Oct. 13, the same day
all of us, not just the people living in Israel."
University of Michigan students representing- Hillel and
Simply, she then put her army stint into perspective —
other Jewish and Zionist causes staged an inspiring count-
and, by extension, the lure of a tiny sliver of the Middle
er-conference that drew nearly 400 supporters to the
East 6,000 miles away.
Student Union to counter the "Second National Student
"Is Israel worth two weeks of army food, sleeping on a
Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement" held
with eight snoring roommates, ill-fitting green clothes
Oct. 12-14 On the Ann Arbor campus.
a little hard work?" she asked.
At their core, the conference's guiding principles were

anti-Jewish. What's more, some of the conference speakers
Similar passion reverberated Oct. 13 in Ann Arbor when
previously had espoused hatred for, or terrorism against,
Rick Dorfman -- a U-M junior from West Bloomfield
Jews. As Bloomfield Hills' Jerome S. Kaufman, the Zionist
a founder of the Michigan Student Zionists — rein-
Organization of America's national secretary, put it at the
the will of Jews to unite against oppressors: "To
student-sponsored protest to the conference, "This confer-
seek our destruction, wherever you are, wherever
ence, as all the other hate conferences, is about the destruc-
we will be there!" ❑
tion of the Jewish state. Nothing less."



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