>> ... Next Generation ...
Matt Cohn of Huntington Woods and Phil
Rubin of Birmingham
NEXTGen Detroit hosts
65th birthday bash for Israe
ROBIN SCHWARTZ I CONTRIBUTING WRITER
lue lights cast a cool glow on the walls inside Local Kitchen and Bar
in Ferndale and white paper lanterns hung from the ceiling; music
played, drinks flowed, and 20- and 30-somethings mingled. The festive
gathering April 11, co-sponsored by NEXTGenDetroit and AIPAC (the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee), was a 65th birthday bash for Israel.
Partygoers paid a $10 cover charge. There was also food, a blue-and-white candy bar
"It's a fun, light vibe," NEXTGen Detroit director Miryam Rosenzweig said while
lounging on a bench looking out over the crowd. "We want to begin reintroducing
Israel into the conversation."
Organizers plastered the walls with posters depicting Israel celebrations from 1949
and through each decade. They also used an Internet hookup to project a live Kotel
cam image of the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem. Around 9:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. Israel
time), several members of the group "Detroiters in Israel" walked into the camera
shot waving and holding large "D" signs for Detroit. They knew partygoers would be
watching. What they didn't realize was that security guards around the Kotel would
be watching, too. The small group was briefly detained and questioned after the sign-
"I guess it's a sensitive zone and they didn't know why people were standing there
at 4:30 in the morning waving signs," Rosenzweig explained. "Everyone (on both
sides) had a good laugh!"
Back at the party, Ryan Fishman, an AIPAC young leadership development volunteer
and NEXTGen board member, said it was great to see so many of his peers rallying
around the Jewish state.
"We're fortunate to have a vibrant Jewish community in Detroit," he said.
"Celebrating Israel's 65th birthday was a great way to partner AIPAC with
At one point during the evening, there was also a countdown. As the group
shouted out "3-2-1," cannons went off sending confetti shooting into the air.
Rosenzweig pointed out her generation only knows Israel as a regional superpower or
through subsidized educational Birthright trips — a much different perspective than
her parents or grandparents had decades ago.
"I have a picture of my grandmother in a displaced persons' camp when Israel
became a state," she said. "My parents grew up in a world where it's 1967, Israel is
18 years old, and everybody attacks it."
She added the organization's long-term goal is to reconnect America's Jewish
community with the Jewish community in Israel.
"If everybody walks away with a good feeling about Israel, we all win," she said. ❑
To learn more about NEXTGen Detroit's programs, events or leadership
opportunities, go to nextgen.jewishdetroit.org or call (248) 205-2558.
Katie Cassell of Woodhaven, Joel Kirsch
of Huntington Woods, Jane Gazman
of Southfield and Bryan Fenster of
Lauren Cohn of Huntington Woods
and Jamie Rubin of Birmingham
check out the blue-and-white
Avi Knopf of Oa
which wine he
Ryan Fishman of Birmingham, Avi
Davidoff of Chicago, Josh Kaplin of
Birmingham and Sarah Burstein of
Marla White of Oak Park, Jamie Seiger
of Warren, Miriam Svidler of West
Bloomfield, Jaimee Wine of Orchard
Lake, Jessica Sterling of Farmington
Hills and Abigail Eichenhorn of
Melissa Burstein and Bryan
Gordon, both of Birmingham,
with Julie Marx of Bloomfield
April 18 • 2013