Pistons Game

By Lior Zisser-Yogev 
Senior Community Shlicha (emissary), Jewish Federation of Detroit 

The Jewish community of Detroit did an amazing job in raising money for the Federation emergency campaign that started in light of the war in Israel, with donations close to $30 million dollars so far in a period of just weeks. 

But beyond donations, there is a strong feeling of unity as people find reasons to be together, and to feel a sense of belonging and brotherhood in these difficult times for every Jewish person. 

In the past couple of weeks, Federation’s Israel & Overseas Department has created as many opportunities as we can for the community to come together. Not only to unite around Israel, but also to support each other. 

Here are just some of the events that took place: 

Israelis Who Have Arrived in Michigan Since October 7th 

The Jewish community in Michigan has very strong ties to Israel, and many have family and friends living in the country. Since the outbreak of the war dozens of families have come to visit Michigan to refresh and regain some strength, even for a short time, with a change of routine, scenery and atmosphere. 

Israeli families at Hillel Day School
Israeli families find respite on a visit to Detroit.

On November 16, Federation and JFamily held a meeting for the Israeli families at Hillel Day School, who is accommodating nearly twenty Israeli students who came for a temporary visit to Detroit. Our community’s Shinshinim did a fun activity for the children while the parents met to vent, listen and more than anything else, be together in this difficult time. 

Holocaust Survivors Support Israel as Part of JSL Café Europa  

On Monday, November 20, myself and the Shnshinim did a special Café Europa program for Holocaust survivors where they talked about the national resilience of the State of Israel, the many social initiatives throughout the country and the feeling of hope that never leaves us even in difficult moments. 

Cafe Europa
Our community Shlicha and Shinshinim (Israeli Emissaries) lead a solidarity program for Holocaust Survivors.

Holocaust survivors, who are our source of inspiration for resilience and resurrection after a great disaster, watched videos from Israel, heard experiences, asked questions and sang together “Am Yisrael Chai” and “Hatikva”.  

NEXTGen Detroit We Need To Talk About Israel 

The war in Israel raises many questions and doubts among young Jews who are trying to understand what is happening, to support Israel and, at the same time, deal with harsh criticism they hear against the country in their school and work environments and on social media. 

On November 20, Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit held a program for close to 30 people where myself, Tomer Moked, Director of NEXTGen Detroit, and David Kurzman, Federation’s Senior Director, Community Affairs led a group discussion and answered the difficult questions that currently preoccupy young people in our community. 

Faces of October 7th. Testimony of a Nova Music Festival Survivor 

On Monday, November 27, 150 people came to Federation to hear the chilling story of Millet Ben Haim, a survivor of the Nova Music Festival massacre who is now on a tour across the United States as part of the Faces of October 7th project. 

Testimony of a Nova Music Festival Survivor
Community members came out to hear from and support Millet Ben Haim, a survivor of the Nova Music Festival massacre.

Millet’s story was difficult and moving, and had a tremendous impact on all who attended. Her bravery and resilience are emblematic of Israel and the Jewish people at this time. 

Solidarity and Support for Israel at the Pistons-Wizards Basketball Game 

When Deni Avdija, the only Israeli representative in the NBA, arrived in Detroit for a basketball game on November 27, it was clear that we should come to cheer for him and show support. We organized a group of 70 people from the Jewish and Israeli community who came to the game dressed in blue and white and waiving Israeli flags. 

Pistons Game
Meeting Deni Avdija, the only Israeli representative in the NBA,
at the Pistons-Wizards game.

It was an exciting game, and at the end we even met with Deni for a brief, yet encouraging, conversation. 

Café Dilemma. Facilitated Discussions About the Situation in Israel 

Our Shlichim regularly conduct “Cafe Dilemma” conversation circles in various synagogues across the community. On November 28, 60 people came to Bnei Moshe Synagogue to be together, learn and talk about various issues from the current situation in Israel. Topics included the ceasefire, return of the hostages, the day after the war and Israel’s political landscape.  

Cafe Dilemma
Our Shinshinim lead a deep thinking Cafe Dilemma event at Bnei Moshe.

Will We See You at Our Next Event? 

We would love to have you at a future Israel & Overseas event. Stay in the know by signing up for our email updates today