By Amichay Findling, Israel and Overseas Program Manager

The third week of May was a very meaningful week for Israelis, and Jews in general, here in Ann Arbor.

The week commemorated Israel’s Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron) and Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut), which follow one another with a complex set of emotions for those who observe, especially this year.

The Jewish Federation, in partnership with many local Jewish communal organizations and congregations, initiated a series of events and engagements for this special time of the year.

Most notably, the Federation hosted Daniel and Ron, two IDF combatants, who participated in a variety of programming throughout the community. Some activities of their week-long visit to Ann Arbor included reading obituaries of their fallen comrades at the community-wide Yom HaZikaron service, engaging children at the Hebrew Day School and participating in Shabbat services at various congregations around Ann Arbor.

In addition to their Ann Arbor area engagements, Ron and Daniel attended two special meetings: On Thursday, May 16th, they traveled to Lansing, where they met a group of Michigan’s State Senators, headed by Sen. Lana Theis and Sen. Jeremy Moss and shared their stories and experiences of the current war in Israel and Gaza. Later that day, they met a group of Michigan’s Jewish War Veterans and bonded through shared experiences as veterans and comrades.

These events were made possible by the Jewish Agency for Israel’s “Soldiers in Uniform” program, as well as funding and organization by the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, and cooperation and sponsorship by many organizations, including Hebrew Day School, Jewish Family Services, Beth Israel Congregation, Temple Beth Emeth, the Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan, and Chabad House of Ann Arbor.

To learn more about local Israel-related programming, visit or contact Federation’s Israel and Overseas Programs Manager Amichay Findling at