male soldiers stand in a row in uniform. Close-up on their faces.

StandWithUs welcomes IDF personnel to Michigan.

What’s it like to live in a country that is the subject of so much scrutiny?

Reouven Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

Find out when StandWithUs’ Israeli Soldiers Tour (IST) brings Reouven and Rotem (last names are withheld for security purposes) to Michigan Oct. 15-16.

StandWithUs’ Israeli Soldiers Tour has six teams of two throughout the United States on campuses, high schools, synagogues and churches through Oct. 28.

Reouven and Rotem will reveal their personal experiences serving in the IDF, fighting an enemy that hides behind its civilians. Their stories — from the front lines and not the headlines — have never been heard before. They will also share their backgrounds, life in Israel and answer questions. Reouven and Rotem put a “human face” to the IDF uniform.

Reouven “Ruby”, 27, grew up in Nice, France. His family immigrated to Israel and settled in Gush Katif when he was 8. In 2005, the family was forced to move to Nitzan, a small town between Ashdod and Ashkelon, when Israel disengaged from Gaza as a gesture toward peace. At 18, Ruby entered the IDF and became a sergeant of a sniper squad. He participated in significant operations between 2010-2013. After his service, he traveled through Australia and the United States for 18 months. He is at SCE College of Engineering in Ashdod, studying software engineering and works at Intel.

Rotem Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

Rotem, 25, was born and raised in Tel Aviv and is now pursuing dual degrees in business administration and law at the IDC Herzliya. Rotem actively participated with the Israeli Scouts throughout her childhood and, as a teenager, she took leadership positions as counselor and unit leader. Rotem served as a commander and drill sergeant for basic training during her IDF service. She is now the social events director at Birthright Israel Excel, an exclusive summer fellowship program in Israel for talented Jewish university students. She also heads up the marketing and public relations department for the IDC Student Union.

Liora Bachrach, SWU Midwest campus coordinator, says, “The IST tour provides insight into what it’s like to live in Israel and be a soldier there. It helps educate people who have never had a chance to meet an Israeli, much less having to go through mandatory army service as a teen in a country surrounded by enemies.”

The reservists will speak at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Hadassah House in West Bloomfield. Admission is $12. RSVP to Hadassah Greater Detoit by calling (248) 683-5030.

They will also speak at Grand Valley University in Allandale at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, and at Wayne State Hillel at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 16. Both are open to the public. For details, contact

StandWithUs High School Interns and Emerson Fellows

For 2018-2019, interns are Danielle Lutz, Groves High School, and Jennifer Magier, Farber Hebrew Day School. Emerson Fellows are Blair Bean at Michigan State University; Zack Kirshner at Grand Valley State U; Justin Sherman at Wayne State University and Robert Weinbaum, University of Michigan. Adam Blue is the new Midwest high school coordinator. Peggy Shapiro continues as SWU Midwest executive director.