Adat Shalom to host annual Walk for Israel event to show support for the Jewish State, featuring speakers and entertainment.

By Stacy Gittleman

Featured photo by Jerry Zolynsky

Come rain or shine, Andre Douville hopes Israel supporters will bring their blue-and-white pride for the Walk for Israel Sunday, May 5, at its new location at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills.

Douville, who founded the walk 15 years ago with help from his dedicated committee, said the family-oriented day will celebrate all that is positive about Israel. With three modern-day holidays cropping up on the Jewish calendar, including Israel’s Memorial and Independence days (Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut) and Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Reunification Day, Douville said “May is that Israel time of year.”

The weekend is also crowded with other events, including the kickoff of the Lenore Marwil Detroit Jewish Film Festival at the Jewish Community Center and a Yom HaShoah observance at the Holocaust Memorial Center. So, Douville is grateful Adat Shalom is hosting after many years at Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield, where Douville had been executive director.

“We loved our relationship with Shir Shalom and the committee for years has thought of changing things up by alternating the walk’s location to different parts around town,” said Douville, who has family in Israel and lived there himself for many years. “We hope our walk along Northwestern Highway will draw more people and increase our exposure to help all people understand the important relationship between the United States and the State of Israel.”

Douville said the walk is expected to draw about 2,000 people; he counts on a good showing from the area’s congregations, schools and Hebrew schools as well as other non-Jewish organizations that have shown support previously.

He also said Farmington Hills police said they will have a high-visibility presence in light of the incident at the Chabad of Poway in California.

Adat Shalom Executive Director Alan Yost said he and his congregation are honored to host the walk, which coincides with their Synergy Weekend featuring scholar-in-residence, journalist, book author and former IDF soldier Matti Friedman.

“It worked out to offer the community an exciting event and they can also hear a talk from Friedman to begin the day,” Yost said.

Before the walk, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and other local dignitaries will address the crowd. Adat Shalom Hazzan Daniel Gross and other clergy will lead the U.S. and Israeli national anthems.

Though Douville understands these are polarizing times in both American and Israeli politics, he said the walk encourages people to put aside differences to celebrate the essence of Israel.

The day starts at 10:30 a.m. with a talk featuring Friedman and continues with a free kosher lunch, a carnival and entertainment by Star Trax. The walk will begin at 1:30 p.m., taking participants on a roundtrip stroll up and down Northwestern Highway for a little more than a mile. The carnival and activities go until 3 p.m. Donations of $5 or more are greatly appreciated, Douville said.

There is ample parking in Adat Shalom’s two main parking lots. Handicap parking will be in the auxiliary parking lot and be clearly marked. Parking attendants will assist. Participants should expect a security presence with uniformed and plain clothes officers; bags will be inspected. Advanced registration is encouraged walkforisrael.org.

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