So today was the Walk for Israel walkathon. I don't know numbers, but let's just say thousands of people gathered at a park at the lakefront where it started, wearing their T-shirts, touting Israeli flags on knapsacks, wagons, carriages, backsides and even on faces. Dignitaries speak at the beginning of the walk, there are inflatable rides and amusements for the kids, the world's largest hora is attempted and the fever is set.
It is a beautiful thing to march in with friends, neighbors -- and countrymen. And what is even nicer is when you have non-Jews who march in solidarity with us, some representing Christian causes, others just feeling pro-Israel and letting the Jews know it.
Many groups and schools and synagogues are represented -- it is really a cross section of the community in this city who come out to this event and help make it what it is. Lubavitcher men approach male participants of bar-mitzvah age to ask them if they'd like to lay Tefillin, Jews for Judasim folks are out, ready to hand out brochures if they meet up to Jews for Jesus missionaries.
I've lived in this city my entire life, so I get to see people who have crossed my path my entire life, whether from day school, high school, university, jobs, shuls, parenting groups -- to share in a commitment is a special thing, and I think we all know it when we're walking across the lower part of the city together for a few hours.
I have fond memories of the "Walks for Israel" that I participated in when I was a young girl -- the route took us through just about the whole city and took an entire day to complete, if we were lucky. So, yes, of course they were longer as well. But whether the route or the mileage differed, the cause has always been the same: raise money for Israel to help nurture this still-growing country and make it the best it can possibly be. In doing so, bring out Jews from the Toronto woodwork who join in a common cause.
Am Yisrael Chai!