From 1958 to 1971 around Sukkot Israelis from all different segments of society used to go on a two-day walk from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem. The 30-kilometer walk was connected to the ancient custom of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year — on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot. Before there were social networks or even the term “networking”, Israelis would get to know about different Israeli life experiences through this walk. At its peak, approximately 1.25% of the Israeli population participated. In United States terms, that is the equivalent of more than 4 million people.
At the Wexner Foundation’s first Summit, entitled “Stronger Together: (Re)Imagining the North American Israeli Relationship”, our group of Israeli Senior Leaders and Israel Fellows had the pleasure of engaging deeply with both Heritage and Graduate Fellowship alumni. About eight of us coalesced around the idea of providing North American Jews and Israelis with more opportunities to encounter each other. Ordinarily, “regular” Israelis don’t meet tourists and tourists come to Israel and meet family or only those Israelis that work with tourists. We were certain that providing platforms for them to have meaningful conversations would strengthen our ties to one another. Our working group, “Connecting Jerusalem,” is actively involved in promoting this walk and helping to get a large turnout for this new and improved march and ancient custom. We seek to publicize this event — which is only six weeks away — to North American Jews who may be in Israel during the Sukkot Holiday. We’d love for you to come meet us, too!
The “Meetchabrim (Connecting) Jerusalem Walk” will take place on October 19-20 and will bring together Jews from around the world, supporters of Israel and Israelis from all walks of life in an unparalleled display of unity. Participants can either stay overnight in tents or shuttle back and forth to hotels in Jerusalem. The annual pilgrimage has been a uniting force for people around the world since its inception more than 3,000 years ago. The “Meetchabrim Jerusalem March” will be a unique opportunity to feel the embodiment of the Biblical adage — “Jerusalem makes all people friends.”
This year, in collaboration with our group’s initiative, the Jerusalem Municipality and “Meetchabrim” are inviting Jewish groups and guests from abroad to participate with us in this community-wide celebration. English-speaking facilitators will create opportunities for meaningful dialogue and interaction between Israelis and English-speaking friends from the Diaspora. The event is open to everyone — family members and friends, even those who are not Wexner members, fellows or alumni.
For more information on how to organize your group’s participation in the march, contact Irit Mozes at 053-3463818 or Irit.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more information on past marches.
We look forward to seeing you this Sukkot on October 19 and 20 in Jerusalem!
Michal Shalem, Chief of Staff, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
Brigadier General Ram Shmueli, Chairman, Meetchabrim for a Shared Future
To ask any questions or find out more information from this group,
please use our database to find the group members’ email addresses.
Dan Cohn, WHP Alum (San Francisco 08)
Shmuel Porat, WIF Alum (Class 10)
Jason Schwartz, WHP Alum (Dallas 13)
Ruthie Saragosti, WIF Alum (Class 26)
Mark Schwartz, WHP Alum (LA/Bank of America)