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July 20, 2006 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-07-20

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For Israel

Ann Arbor turns out on short notice
to support the Jewish state.

Don Cohen

Special to the Jewish News

Ann Arbor


ttacks on Israel brought
together Ann Arbor-
area Jews and pro-Israel
friends for a rally at the Federal
Building in downtown Ann Arbor
on July 16. The quickly planned
event attracted almost 200 people
who held signs, wore blue and
white, and sang and prayed in
support of Israel and each other.
Eileen Freed, chair of the
Jewish Federation of Washtenaw
County's Community Relations
Committee, welcomed everyone
and set the tone by recapping the
events of the previous week.
"We've come together as a com-
munity, along with communities
around the world who strive for
peace over war, reconciliation
over terror and democracy and
freedom over dictatorships, to
condemn the violence and unpro-
voked attacks and to stand in
solidarity with all those who are
suffering as a result': she said.
She thanked everyone who
worked to organize the rally,
which had been conceived barely
48 hours earlier.
"There is not one dab of peace
in their hearts; they only want
the destruction of Israel," Rabbi
Robert Levy of Temple Beth
Emeth said referring to Hezbollah
and their shelling of Israeli cities
from Lebanon. "We pray that the
people of Israel be secure, that
God protects them, that their
strength protects them and that
our support will help protect
Israeli Lior Ramati, 21, who is
spending the summer working
at the Washtenaw County Jewish
Community Center's Ranana

Summer Camp, spoke of being on
the phone with her mother at her
Carmiel home and hearing the
sirens go off. "She had to go to
the shelter': Ramati said.
"I've lived in Carmiel for 21
years and I have never heard a
siren in my whole life. Now chil-
dren, instead of going to school
and playing outside, have to sit in
the shelter?'
"We don't have another choice,"
she said of Israel's military
actions, expressing a widely held
opinion. "We really don't want to
do it,;we•really want peace. We
want to be able to live our lives?'
Joan Lowenstein, the imme-
diate past president of the
Federation and an Ann Arbor
City Council member, expressed
confidence in Israel's determi-
nation."Hezbollah has made a
miscalculation. They think they
can break the spirit of Israel but
they can not," Lowenstein said.
"I had grandparents who fled
the pogroms of Europe and now
they are trying to do a pogrom in
Israel. But Jews don't flee pogroms
anymore," she said to cheers and
Rabbi Robert Dobrusin of
Beth Israel Congregation, spoke
of peace. "Israel has shown her-
self willing to negotiate for peace,
and also has shown herself will-
ing to take her own actions for
peace," he said. "We hope for a
negotiated peace.
"May the Middle East be free
from threats of destruction?' He
concluded with "Am Yisrael Chai!"
which the crowd then sang.
Saying that Israel and the Jewish
people need spiritual help as well
as material help, Rabbi Aharon
Goldstein of Chabad led the rally
in reciting Psalm 20 and singing
Heenai Maha Toy (How good
it is for brothers to sit together in

peace). A statement from Rabbi
Rod Glowgower of the Ann Arbor
Orthodox Minyan, who could not
attend, urged support and prayers
for the safe return of Israel's kid-
napped soldiers.
After the rally, people signed
a large Federation banner that
will soon be taken to Kibbutz
Nahalal in the Central Galilee
which is part of its Partnership
2000 region. Others sang songs of
peace and danced the hora near
a loud group of protestors who
were unable to dampen the spirits
of a community that had once
again shown its solidarity and
love for the Jewish state.
Israeli-born Eli Avny, who
together with Carolyn Grawi
proposed the rally, was pleased
with the short-notice response
that crossed denominational and
political divisions. Avny, who has
lived in Ann Arbor for 14 years,
was especially moved since he
had spent his bar mitzvah in a
bomb shelter during the June
1967 Six-Day War, and fought in
the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
"It was a wonderful experience
for me',' he said. "We came togeth-
er with one agenda, to stand for
Israel in support?'
Asaf Aviv, 22, of Bat Yam out-
side Tel Aviv, was visibly moved
by the outpouring of love and
support. Aviv, who is also working
at the JCC summer camp, said a
family from northern Israel has
moved into his family's home
because of the attacks.
"I wanted to cry:' he said of
the rally "It's so exciting. I can't
wait to call home and tell my
mother about it. The signs, the
flags and the singing — I can't
even describe how I feel. From
such a small community there
is so much support. I am over-
whelmed." El


Henry Elbaum, 10, makes his feelings known while standing
between his parents, Mary Thompson and Danny Elbaum.


Joan Lowenstein, flanked by rabbis Robert Dobrusin, left, and

Aharon Goldstein, implores the crowd to take action for Israel.

Rallygoers sign a banner of support that will be sent to the

Central Galilee.

July 20 2006


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