Election of Officers
Emotions And Heroes
e're going to Israel as a community to show the
world we're in lockstep with the Jewish state
amid a time of upheaval and uncertainty
spurred by Palestinian terror. We'll stand with
our Israeli brethren and applaud their resolve. And we'll take
in the sweet and not-so-sweet scents of this biblical, belea-
guered land of our forebears.
Under tight security Federation's Michigan Miracle Mission
4 will take place April 18-28, 2004, with six nights in historic
Jerusalem and two nights in the Central Galilee, Detroit
Jewry's Partnership 2000 region for building educational, busi-
ness and social connections. Trip co-sponsors
are the Detroit Jewish News and Michigan
Board of Rabbis. More than 180 people have
made deposits. Congregational buses with
tailored schedules will come together for
three mega events.
Next April, there's nowhere I'd rather be as
the chill of Israel Remembrance Day (Yom
HaZikaron) morphs into the joy of Israel
ROBERT A. Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut),
Israel's 56th birthday.
What will make this Miracle Mission dif-
ferent from the first three is the panoply of
volunteer opportunities, from serving hot meals at a soup
kitchen to fixing up homes damaged by terror, from brighten-
ing the day for seniors to teaching new immigrants
English or computer skills, from working with teens to
visiting the ill or homebound.
"It'll be very meaningful stuff, the kind of thing you'll
look forward to," vows Mission Co-Chair Peter Alter.
And he should see that vow fulfilled: Israelis desperately
want diaspora visitors to nurture them.
you be in Israel now, when we really need you and we really
want to see you."
Movingly, he told how on Yom HaZikaron in any of Israel's
43 military cemeteries, you'll see women weeping at the graves
of sons killed in the 1948 War for Independence as well as in
the latest conflict.
"Every year," said Tamary, an army reserve officer, "we pray
that the humungous number of 21,540 soldiers who gave
their lives to the State of Israel will stay the same. But every
year, unfortunately, the bitter reality slaps our face."
The Human Gi
The emotional toll is daunting. Last summer, a 6-year-old boy
in Tel Aviv told Tamary that he and friends were playing a
new game called "Suicide Bomber" to cope with all the death
and destruction. "This answer stunned me," Tamary said.
And it's why I'm proud to see Detroit Jewry firming up
plans for its fourth Miracle Mission despite the terror that
sporadically erupts. Impressionable kids like this 6-year-old
boy are Israel's future; they need to see visitors who care about
Israel and give of themselves to help keep it vital.
Mission Co-Chair Dr. Richard Krugel thoughtfully said
that Tamary's grim picture is precisely why we must go to
Israel as a community, up to 800 strong aboard two El Al jets.
"We will make a statement to Israelis that we're with them,"
Dr. Krugel said, "that we know it's tough there, that
we're coming to shafe their angst and difficulties. We'll
make a statement, especially to our fellow Jews in the
U.S., that this is the time to go, that this is the right
thing to do."
King David proclaimed Jerusalem the eternal capital
of Israel 3,000 years agO. Today, this "City of Peace"
(in Hebrew Ir Shalom) is at the crossroads of three
major monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and
Islam. It's at the core of a firefight between the Jewish
The 10-day trip can't come soon enough for Israelis, reeling
people and Arab fundamentalists seeking to claim our home-
from nearly 32 months of suicide bombings, roadside attacks
land as theirs.
and sniper fire that have taken at least 773 Israeli and foreign
Jerusalem is steeped in history and spirituality, yet boasts the
trappings of a modern capital city. It's exhilarating and capti-
We've heard about the depressed economy and a collapse in
vating, yet rife with undercurrents. of political, religious and
tourism causing empty hotels, bankrupt merchants, rising
social strain that forever gnaw at you. It's the backdrop
unemployment, heightened security and an army
for a seemingly unrelenting battle between the only
forced into guerilla warfare against a savage enemy. But
democratic state in the Mideast and an Islamist culture
there's an even more shocking undercurrent in Israel:
that embraces martyrdom.
People dying by suicide, not suicide bombers.
Even if you harbor just a touch of Yiddishkeit
"People, because of the bad economy, are deciding
Uewishness), Jerusalem is where it will manifest itself
more and more they can't take it anymore," said Israeli
It's the hub for the Miracle Mission, the largest of any
TV reporter Gil Tamary in keynote comments at the
community-based mission to Israel.
May 12 recruitment meeting for the mission at the
Federation President Lawrence Jackier said the 2004
Max M. Fisher Federation Building in Bloomfield
mission "is something you will be talking about with
Township. "This phenomenon is reported almost every
your children and your grandchildren and with each other for
many, many years." And chances are you will, as much
He told the story of the 15-year-old national judo champi-
because of the timing as the itinerary.
on who ended it all a few months back when the power was
Jackier is right: "You will feel so good about being Jewish.
cut to his family's house because they owed 480 shekels — less
It's great we all have Israel on our minds, but there is nothing
than $100. The horror of that simple story affirmed my deter-
like being present. Every single Israeli that you will encounter
mination to go. Israel needs us, not just our dollars.
will thank you over and over, and will make you feel almost
In America, we take for granted eating out, celebrating a bat
uncomfortable because you'll be like a conquering hero to
mitzvah or taking a bus. In Israel, such simple acts can be
lethal when terrorists lock on them to maximize what I call
For mission information and an application, call Sally
Promoting the mission, Tamary, Washington bureau chief
Krugel at Federation, (248) 203-1485, or e-mail her at
for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, said: "It's very nice to
email@example.com. The $150 discount ends June 30.
visit Israel in prosperity, but it's much more important that
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Jewish Community Center
6600 West Maple Road
Join us to honor
Slate of Officers D Directors
Additional 3-Year Term
Beth Kroft Mondry
First 3-Year Term
P iecae com 24./
— No Charge —