by Vivian Henoch

When Israel@70 meets the Detroit RiverFront on June 20th . . . a sea of blue and white flags will wave along the riverfront where thousands of Jewish Detroiters will gather for a good time.

It’s a carnival for the whole family. It’s a party after dark. It’s a good time for everyone to celebrate a birthday to remember.  And, for the first 500 families  to order tickets now, the kids get in FREE.

Israel@70 at GM River Days! is full of day-time fun for the whole family, but did you know that when the sun sets, there’s still loads to do on the Detroit RiverFront? Live music, an authentic Israeli pub, after-dark carnival rides and a whole lot more! Get tickets and info at

Marking the 70th year of Israel’s Statehood and sharing the celebration of Israelis and Jews around the world, the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit – in partnership with GM River Days and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy – will host festivities from 4 to 10 pm, in an exclusive GM River Days preview event two days prior to opening to the general public. Community partners for the event include more than 30 local congregations and Jewish organizations.

“We chose the Detroit RiverFront – in the heart of the city – to showcase the diversity of Jewish Detroit and its abiding connection to Israel,” said Jennifer Levine, Federation’s Director of Israel and Overseas. “Thanks to our partnerships in the city, families can come down to enjoy the mix of carnival rides, midway games, family activities, live music and entertainment. We’re also excited to have a host of food vendors offering everything from classic carnival fare to authentic Israeli food, all with vegan and kosher options.”

LIVE in Concert

CAPAIM!  Get ready to dance, to sing and rock Israeli-style with the Capaim Band, the Israeli cover band based in NYC and L.A.

Capaim! Bringing Israel’s biggest hits to the stage.

A bright star in Jewish rock music today, Sheldon Low (of Songleader Boot Camp fame) will open with his own family-friendly tunes, including selections from his children’s albums distributed by PJ Library.

Family concert with Sheldon Low from Songleader Boot Camp, on stage at 7 pm

“Our goal is to bring the whole community together for an evening that everyone – especially our children – will remember as bigger than life,” said Jeffrey Lasday, Chief Operating Officer of the JCC. “Outside of Israel this year, Israel@70 on the Riverfront will be the place to be. This is our moment in time to take part, take pride and celebrate shoulder to shoulder with thousands of Jewish Detroiters in an epic show of support for our Jewish homeland.”

A time to enjoy

Bring the family, bring the camera, bring your appetite for fun and everything Israeli.  A full schedule of Israeli-themed entertainment, food and fun is planned for the whole family.


  • Tamarack Camps Reveal “Song of the Summer” live on stage
  • Dance with DJ Phreddy through the night
  • Motown’s own Persuasion


  • Israeli Cuisine
  • Classic Carnival Fare
  • Truck Shuka
  • Nosh Pit
  • Chef CARI
  • Kravings
  • Eskimo Jacks
  • D’Vine Cookies
  • Kosher and vegan Options


  • Free Carnival Rides and Midway Games
  • “You are in Israel” Photo Booth
  • Strolling magician
  • Face painting
  • Community Teen Mission to Israel Send Off
  • The Family Tent, offering activities and info from more than 40 Jewish organizations and synagogues
  • Israel@70 t-shirts, flags and souvenirs


  • NEXTGen Detroit’s Tel Aviv inspired Bar & Lounge, complete with classic Israeli snack foods and favorite Israeli table games
  • After-dark carnival rides
  • Live music

A time for reflection

“We are thrilled to invite the community to commemorate and celebrate Israel’s 70 years of achievement,” said Federation President, Beverly Liss. “Israel’s story is our story, and a part of Michigan’s history, too. In those early years of Israel’s statehood, many in our community remember gathering, 15,000 strong, to celebrate at the State Fair Grounds in Detroit. Now in the year 2018, we plan to rekindle that spirit and energy of those extraordinary days and invite the community to join us to make history anew.”

Reflecting on the miracle and complexity of life in Israel, community Shlicha (Israeli Emissary) Nina Yahalomi Klevitsky observed, “My role is to bring Israel to the community and I feel like the luckiest Israeli in Detroit to share all the excitement of Israel@70 going on right here. In celebrating Israel’s milestone 70th year of statehood, we celebrate Israel’s incredible achievements, knowing we are still a “young nation” with a long way to go. I look forward to sharing every minute of our celebration right here, right now with the Jewish community of Detroit.”

And did you know?

Seventy years may seem like a lifetime to some, but it’s barely a blip on the radar of Jewish history.  According to Jewish tradition, the number 70 has a special place:

  • Psalm 90:10 allots three score and ten (70 years) for a lifetime.
  • The people of Israel make up one of 70 nations.
  • Moses had 70 elders at his side as he wandered the desert.
  • Jerusalem has 70 names.
  • 70 faces are attributed to God
  • All those turning 70 this year enjoy free admission to Israel@70
  • Israel@70 Detroit is a yearlong celebration in a coordinated effort of congregations and Jewish agencies throughout the community. To promote your Israel event on the community’s Israel@70 calendar, visit

Ticket information and sponsorship opportunities

Tickets for Israel@70 on the Detroit RiverFront, June 20, 2018, include unlimited carnival rides. Advance purchase tickets at discount prices at

General Admission, $18; Seniors (65+), $13; Family Ticket (2 adults, 3+ children) $75; Born in 1948, FREE. Walk-in ticket prices to be announced.

Israel@70 is brought to the community with the support of the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Susie & Norman Pappas Challenge Fund and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. Community partners include more than 30 synagogues, schools and Jewish organizations in the area.