The Walk with Israel is the single largest Israel solidarity walk in North America. Dressed in blue and white, tens of thousands walk together in the heart of Toronto to show our pride in Israel. It is also one of the most important ways we support the people of Israel. Dollars raised through the Walk traditionally support our three partner communities: Bat Yam, Sderot, and Eilat/Eilot. These funds are invested in scholarships, safer infrastructure, anti-poverty programs, mental health supports, and more.
The Walk was especially crucial in 2021, when the need for solidarity became urgent. In May, coinciding with the Walk, Israeli civilians suffered the worst terrorism in years. Israelis were already reeling from the mental and physical health consequences of COVID-19. Now, a renewed wave of terrorism threatened lives and risked pushing many to the breaking point. A generous, anonymous donor stepped forward to match donations to the Walk, dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000, with all gifts dedicated to a Walk Crisis Response Fund.
Through the Fund, UJA is helping Israelis overcome the enduring impacts of the wave of terrorism in May. This includes supporting mental health in Sderot through the community’s Resilience Centre. This partnership has been empowering in Israel and here in our city. Centre staff conducted online training for Jewish social workers in Toronto as the pandemic began. Today, the Centre is helping Israelis address PTSD in the aftermath of terror. Your gifts were also invested in the Fund for Victims of Terror. Managed by the Jewish Agency, it offers rapid assistance to those directly affected by terrorism. In Ashdod, one Jewish Agency staffer met Lucy, who “has lived in her home for 30 years and raised her children there. On Tuesday, she left the house for a little while as the sirens began. By the time she arrived back home, her beautiful house was destroyed… She said to me ‘My home was always my safe spot in the world and now it is gone. What will I do?’… At the end of our visit, I handed her an envelope and told her that the cheque inside meant that Jews around the world are thinking of her on the worst day of her life.”
Your gift to UJA is how we show Israelis—as one Jewish people—that we will never be bystanders when they are under attack. We are there not simply in spirit, but through real action when they are in danger—thanks to your generosity.