Celebrating Israel! – Yom HaAtzmaut

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Louis Finkelman Contributing Writer
Photos by Paul Fischer
Israel@70 – A Salute to the Jewish State
Israel@70 – A Salute to the Jewish State
Israel / 05.17.2018

Farber students go all out for the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary.

More than a half-century ago, the founders of Akiva Hebrew Day School (Yeshivat Akiva), an Orthodox Zionist institution, intended to create an educational institution dedicated to Jewish and secular studies “while imbuing its students with a love for and a commitment to the land of Israel.”

The Southfield school, now known as Farber Hebrew Day School, put that commitment on vivid display April 19 at a day-long school-wide celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

The celebration culminated in a multimedia presentation of the history of Israel, performed entirely by students, on the premise of bringing back Israel’s founders to encounter the current reality of the country.

Theodore Herzl got to talk with Benjamin Netanyahu; Rabbi Avraham Kook, chief rabbi of pre-state Israel, spoke with a student at Migdal Oz (a seminary for female students of Torah); Chaim Weitzman, the scientist who served as first president of Israel, talked with Omer Gal, an engineer who designs desalinization plants.

Eliezer ben Yehudah, who invented Hebrew words for new phenomena, pioneering Hebrew as a modern spoken language, got to observe a concert in contemporary Hebrew, filled with even newer words. The program included a short video address in Hebrew from Natan Sharansky, the heroic refusenik who now heads the Jewish Agency for Israel. The event also featured the hope that Jews around the world will make aliyah.

The script for this presentation was written by Merav Edrei, based on an idea suggested by Daphna Feldman, head of the school’s Hebrew Department.  Merav and her husband, Yonatan, serve as shlichim (emissaries) of Bnei Akiva, a worldwide Jewish youth movement dedicated to Torah, service and the land of Israel.  They came from Israel to head Bnei Akiva Detroit, providing an Israeli presence and leadership for the local branch of the youth movement, for local synagogue groups and for Farber Hebrew Day School.

Merav summarized the theme of the program: “Connecting the people who made the country, and the people who dreamt it, with the people who are now making the country stronger and more peaceful.  Maybe 70 years from now, these people now will be the subject of celebrations of Israel.”

Also active behind the scenes in this program are shlichot Avital Parnes, Tohar Barsheshet and Hadar Sagiv, young women doing national service for Israel by staffing Bnei Akiva projects in the Detroit area.

Commenting on the presentation, Avital said it was designed “to connect everyone with Israel.” Hadar emphasized that it “connected us with each other.”  And Tohar added that she enjoys it “when the kids get to know the songs that we know in Israel.”

Posters introducing significant individuals in the history of Israel decorated almost every inch of the main hallway of the school. Pairs of students had done the research, producing short essays in English and Hebrew for each subject, along with relevant photos.

Earlier in the day, the entire school took part in a parade on 12 Mile and Lahser roads, carrying Israeli flags and demonstrating their commitment to Israel.  When the students returned, they were able to visit stations with projects related to Israel, including cooking and science experiments.

Farber Hebrew teacher and shlicha Merav Edrei introduces the evening’s ceremony. 
Third-graders Amalya Winer and Tiferet Stein enjoy the parade.
Benjamin Netanyahu (ninth-grader Joseph Kornblum) with eighth-graders dressed as a farmer (Kiki Hyman), TV host Hannah Herdman and David Ben-Gurion (Daniella Weil).
Elementary school students perform during event.
The entire school population marched from the school’s entrance up 12 Mile Road.
High school students Molly Yarbrough, Estee Brown and Zoe Korelitz.

Israel Independence Day Carnival & Kosher Rib Burn-Off,

Hillel Day School, Farmington Hills, April 19

Photos by Anthony Lanzilote
There was plenty to do at Hillel Day School’s Yom HaAtzmaut event April 19.
Willa Matthies, 3, of Farmington Hills
Elan Rosenberg, 10, of West Bloomfield after finishing a rib
Rib Burn-Off winner Rabbi Shalom Kantor, left, of B’nai Moshe poses with the judges.
A member of the Holy Band gets out into the crowd.
Rib Burn-Off judges at work: Head of School Steve Freedman, Athletic Director Nicole Miller and Maintenance Worker Zack Toliver.

Bnei Avkiva’s Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut Event,

Young Israel of Oak Park, April 18

Photos by Jerry Zolynsky
Rabbi Josh Strasberg of Oak Park leads the men’s group in prayer and song.
Ethan Adler, 16, of Southfield lights a candle in memory of those who died in service to Israel.
Josh Younger and his daughter, Hanna, 3, watch the festivities.
Ezra Klausner of Southfield waves the flag of Israel as the men and students dance around him. 
Event organizer Yonatan Edrei of Oak Park addresses the audience.
Bnei Akiva students are recognized.

Walk For Israel,

Temple Shir Shalom, West Bloomfield, May 6, 2018

Photos by Jerry Zolynsky
Walkers head up Orchard Lake to show their support for Israel.
Ray Rebeck of West Bloomfield show his love of Israel.
Annette Meskin and Julie Blair, both of West Bloomfield, hand out American and Israel flags.
Jewish War Veteran Art Fishman of Oak Park is recognized for his volunteer work by U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.
Brianna Rohelier of New Haven paints tattoo art on 11-year-old Ellery Gnesin of West Bloomfield.
Olivia Lindsey, 8, of Birmingham holds her dog, Daisy, while on the train ride with her mother, Jennifer. 
Ari Kantor, 3, rides on the shoulders of his dad, Rabbi Shalom Kantor of Congregation B’nai Moshe.
Police handle traffic on Orchard Lake Road so marchers can pass safely.
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