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August 07, 2008 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-08-07

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'A Fair To Remember' from page A13

Scott Kaufman



Jordan Broad

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Detroit cantors lift their voices in song as Jewish Detroit gathers to hail Israel on its first birthday as a modern state. The Mizrachi Women's
Organization of America was one of the event sponsors.

Phillip Fisher

Mindy Schwartz

Sheri Wagner

they participate. Other attractions include a
traveling museum, Israel mission reunions,
candlemaking and a shuk (market).
The defining moment of the fair will come
during the multimedia concert that will close
the event with a 10,000-strong sing-along
— while videos of Israel play onscreen.
"This event has been a labor of love for so
many:" says IsraelSixty co-chair Sheri Wagner.
"I think the moment that has been driving us
all for the past year is that vision of over 10,000
people gathered in the band shell as the sun
sets, singing `Hatikvah! I get chills just thinking
about it!'
Wagner of Birmingham co-chairs the event
with Brian Siegel of West Bloomfield.
Scott Kaufman, Federation's IsraelSixty
director, says, "We're hoping to recreate the
sense of spirit that comes through when you
look at photographs from the 1949 fair" and
the subsequent fairs in 1950 and in 1951, when
Golda Meir appeared.
"Rarely do we get a crowd of that size just in
celebration, not tied to a speaker or politics or
sadness," he says.
And yet there is a sense of urgency under-
pinning the festivities. With Michigan's econo-
my in the doldrums and a decline in the state's
Jewish population, there is "every reason to
celebrate says Phillip W. Fisher of Bloomfield
Hills, chairman of the IsraelSixty steering com-
Fisher says the fair is a vehicle through which
"to look at the finer, optimistic characteristics
of our community:' points of pride that include

sending proportionately more people to Israel
than any other Jewish community in the U.S.,
and a Federation that ranks fourth nationwide
in dollars raised for Jewish causes.
"You're going to see the humanity of the
Jewish people, a joie de vivre that pulls the
community together in a major way; and
the children are going to remember this for
decades to come says Fisher, a father of five.
"We want people to have a dramatic and
emotional experience that reminds them of
Detroit's strong, unwavering commitment to
Israel:' says Mindy Schwartz, a Pleasant Ridge
entertainment lawyer and former manager of
the Los Angeles Ballet who is serving on the
IsraelSixty volunteer committee.
"Because when you think about it:' she says,
"trying to build something under dire circum-
stances is a common denominator between
Detroit and Israel!"
As Federation's primary mission is to "help
Jews;' Fisher says, the fair has been heavily sub-
sidized by new donations from corporate and
individual sponsors and foundations to keep it
affordable, and no money has been pulled from
beneficiary agencies.
Committee volunteers say online ticket
sales are "looking good:' and word of mouth is
spreading due to lawn signs popping up across
Michigan as well as articles in the Jewish News,
the Detroit News and flyers at local synagogues.
"Buzz is definitely building;' says Jordan
Broad of Bloomfield Hills, who serves on the
event's logistics committee. At 31, Broad, an
executive at ePrize, is one of the younger mem-

Coming Aug. 14:
"A Fair To Remember"
entertainment story.

bers of the committee, and he encourages other
young families like his own to attend.
"People are really going to be surprised by
what we've done. For people who haven't been
to the state fair in many years, it's going to
be really cool: he says, to see Wolverine Way
turned into the popular Jerusalem pedestrian
mall Ben-Yehuda Street, and to hear Israeli
music blaring from the loudspeakers.
And if it rains? "Wear your raincoat:'
Kaufman says. "There will be plenty of
indoor activities, and besides, didn't it rain at

Event Details:

"A Fair to Remember" takes place from
3-10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the
Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile
and Woodward in Detroit. Tickets are on
sale at jewishdetroit.org/israelsixty or by
calling (877) 772-5425. For more infor-
mation, call (248) 205-2538. The event
is rain or shine. Kosher food is provided
by Matt Prentice Restaurant Group and
Paul Kohn's Quality Kosher Catering. The
event is handicap accessible.

August 7 2008


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