Annual UJA Solidarity Walk Starts Victoria Day Off with a Bang, Raises over $600,000
By Daniel Horowitz--On a day that culminated with fireworks lighting up the night sky, United Jewish Appeal’s 45th annual Walk with Israel started Victoria Day off with a bang, as more than 15,000 men, women and children took part in the celebration, which had downtown Toronto awash in blue, white and red.
And, thanks to the sponsored walkers, this year’s Walk with Israel – chaired by husband and wife teams Jamie and Lauren Wise and Sam and Micki Mizrahi - has already raised more than $600,000 – a record total - which will go towards transforming the lives of men, women and children living in vulnerable Israeli cities such as Sderot, Eilat/Eilot and Bat Yam.
“UJA’s Walk with Israel perfectly encapsulates the strength of our relationship with our Jewish homeland,” Elizabeth Wolfe, Chair, UJA Federation Board, told participants prior to the start of the Walk, which left Coronation Park, and ended at Ontario Place with the spectacular Irwin & Renee Nadal Festival. “As a Jew and a Canadian, it fills me with pride to see thousands of us walk through the streets of our city, waving our Israeli and Canadian flags, and showing the world that as Jews, and as Canadians, we will eternally stand with Israel. Well before the establishment of our Jewish homeland, Jewish Toronto has shared an indestructible bond with the state, and the people, of Israel. UJA has been partners with the people of Israel from the start, helping Israel successfully absorb more than 3 million immigrants since 1948. I am so proud to be at the helm of UJA Federation in a community that is one of the greatest in the Diaspora, and the envy of many other Jewish communities in the world. As we walk through the streets of our fine city with our families and friends, we should feel proud that we are literally changing lives of our friends in Israel through the funds we have raised.”
“Over 15,000 members of Jewish Toronto showed their love for, and solidarity, with Israel yesterday at UJA’s Walk with Israel, and what an incredible day it was for our community,” said UJA Federation President & CEO, Ted Sokolsky. “The Walk - the largest annual single-day event of its kind - keeps getting better and better thanks to the tireless efforts of our incredible cadre of more than 400 volunteers and the men, women and children who participate, raising money to transform the lives of Israel’s at-risk citizens. And, with the Walk coming on the heels of our historical event with Shimon Peres just 12 days earlier at Toronto’s Sony Centre, Ontario’s first annual Jewish Heritage Month is one that will be remembered for a long time to come.”
Watch a video from the event here.