Aaron Cutler

Aaron Cutler, 96, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, died on 25 March 2021.

The Funeral was a private family graveside service on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 at 10:30 AM.

Rabbi Nadav Caine and Rabbi Robert Dobrusin officiated.

Click here to watch a video of the recorded service.

Aaron Zelig Cutler, known as Zel, was born in 1924 in Detroit, Michigan. His parents, Sam and Ida Cutler, were part of a group of speakers and readers of Yiddish as well as the Zionist movement. As a teen he joined the newly formed group of Habonim, a Zionist youth movement that became the core of his future life. He helped to build Camp Kinneret, the Habonim summer camp, in Chelsea, Michigan. In the 1950’s the camp moved to a larger site in Three Rivers, Michigan and changed its name to Camp Tavor. All of Zell’s grandchildren attended the camp. Several of his great-grandchildren continue the tradition.

Habonim’s emphasis on Aliyah, moving to Israel to build the new state, led Zel to his interest in agriculture. He got a job on a farm in Chelsea and worked there for a year until he was drafted into the U.S. Army. In September 1944 he was sent to Europe where he was wounded by a shell in the Battle of the Bulge.

Zel was honorably discharged from the Army with a Purple Heart. Traveling to Creamridge, New Jersey to visit his sister Basha, he discovered Hechalutz Farm, where North American Habonim members prepared themselves for life on Kibbutzim in Israel. There Zel met his future wife, Simi Bernstein. They were married later that year and celebrated 73 years together until Simi’s death in 2019.

Zel again delayed Aliyah to attend Michigan State University where he earned a BS in animal husbandry and a Masters degree in chemistry. Following the birth of Elana and Daniel Zel needed to find work. He found work as a chemist in the automotive industry, becoming a specialist in zinc plating. Though Zel never realized his dream of Aliyah, his sister, Basha, and her family eventually did.

Zel leaves a wonderful legacy of life filled with devotion to family, friends, Judaism, Israel, and hard work. He is lovingly remembered working in his vegetable gardens, biking, ice fishing, cross country skiing, and doing the Canadian Air Force exercises that were part of his devotion to health and fitness. Heirloom tomato seeds from his garden are now grown in gardens across the country.

Zel is honored and missed by his children, Eliana (Ron) Sussman and Daniel (Chris) Cutler, grandchildren Mira (Doron) Sussman, Ari (Jaimie) Sussman, Eitan (Joanna) Sussman, Naomi (Grant Barton) Cutler Barton, and Sadie Cutler, and great-grandchildren Matan, Ishai, Judah Sussman-Yitzchaki, Sam, Anna, and Lucy Sussman, Nava and Ilan Sussman, and Nora and Phoebe Barton. He is also survived by his nephew, Dani Shalev, and niece Naomi Sharon.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Aaron Cutler may do so by making a contribution to:

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County
2245 S. State St., Ste 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Click to Visit Charity Website

Beth Israel Congregation of Ann Arbor
2000 Washtenaw
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 665-9897
Click to Visit Charity Website

Hospice of Michigan
400 Galleria Officenter
Suite 400
Southfield, MI 48034
Click to Visit Charity Website

A Charity of one's choice

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