Connecting in Jerusalem
אם-אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני תדבק לשוני לחיכי אם לא אזכרכי אם לא אעלה את ירושלים על ראש שמחתי
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [its skill]. May my tongue cling to my palate, if I do not remember you, if I do not bring up Jerusalem at the beginning of my joy.”
Jerusalem holds a uniquely special significance for the Jewish people, playing a central role in our history and prayer and serving as a reference point for our dreams of a future time of complete peace and solidarity. With that in mind, we found focusing on Jerusalem to be a natural starting point for achieving the task of strengthening the relationship between the Jewish communities of Israel and North America.
Jerusalem is, of course, a required stop on any visit to Israel; however, many travelers experience only the spiritual and historical aspects of the city, not the interpersonal. The residents of Jerusalem encounter many of these visitors only as tourists or customers and not as extended family members with shared hopes and concerns. Our aim is to begin using time in Jerusalem as an occasion to connect our two communities and for the relationships formed in this holy city to lead to shared joy among the Jewish people.
While modern Jerusalem offers an infinite array of opportunities for people to connect to one another, we selected four events on which to focus our efforts:
Meetchabrim (October 19 – 20, 2016) — A two-day pilgrimage from various points in Israel ending in Jerusalem during Chol Hamoed Sukkot, Meetchabrim (Connections) brings together more than 25,000 hikers committed to building a shared future together. Participants from all sectors and affiliations walk together, visit sukkot highlighting various aspects of Israeli society and enjoy activities designed to unify people of diverse backgrounds thereby connecting them to each other and to Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Marathon (March 17, 2017) — In its seventh year, the Jerusalem Winner Marathon will once again provide more than 30,000 runners from around the world with the chance to experience the landscape and culture of Jerusalem while taking part in a full or half marathon, a 5K or 10K race, a 1.7K family walk or an 800M community walk.
Yom Yerushalayim (May 24, 2017) — Hundreds of events will be held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Headlined by the annual Flag Dance Parade and several official ceremonies, Jerusalem Day festivities will also include concerts, sporting events, art shows and neighborhood activities.
20th Maccabiah Games (July 4 – 17, 2017) — The world’s largest Jewish international sports tournament (and the third largest sporting event overall) will take place in Jerusalem this year and will see almost 10,000 competitors from 70 countries participate in 40 sports.
In association with each of these events, we will identify opportunities for Israelis and Americans to engage meaningfully with each other and will create platforms for shared experiences between the communities. We will also collaborate with organizations in Israel and North America to develop educational curricula focused on Jerusalem, its history, its people and all it currently offers. In these endeavors, we are privileged to work closely with the Jerusalem Municipality and Office of Mayor Nir Barkat and to enjoy the generous support of the extended Wexner network.
If you would like to participate in any of these activities, know of delegations traveling to Israel during the next year or can connect us with organizations that may be interested in partnering with us in any aspect of this project, please contact Maury Alcheck (WHP ’08) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
!לשנה הבאה בירושלים
Next year in Jerusalem!
Maury Alcheck, WHP Alum San Francisco 08
Dan Cohn, WHP Alum San Francisco 00
Shmuel Porat, WIF Alum Class 10
Ruthie Saragosti, WIF Alum Class 26
Jason Schwartz, WHP Alum Dallas 13
Michal Shalem, WSL ’15
Ram Shmueli, WIF Alum Class 11