NEW YORK (May. 14)
More than two million people, ranging in age from six weeks to 103 years, raised some $4 million while expressing their solidarity with the people of Israel in the second annual national United Jewish Appeal walk-a-then, held in most of the 213 participating communities throughout the U.S. and Canada last Sunday.
As many as four generations of American Jewish families marched and sang in every conceivable kind of weather to achieve the record result: from Burlington, where 47 people walked in bone-chilling 28-degree weather; to Denver, where more than $20,000 was raised by 550 participants who walked despite the worst snowstorm in the city in 28 years (and where every event but the walk-a-thon was cancelled); to Los Angeles where 25,000 walkers were later joined by more than 10,000 people during Israel 30th anniversary festivities in Rancho Park.
In Houston, where 40,000 people participated in the largest walk in the country, one boy with a broken leg walked the entire 19.5-mile route. The 12,000 participants in Montreal who raised $300,000, included a six-week-old infant and Dr. Joseph Joffre, 103 years old, the oldest member of the “Wheel Chair Brigade.”
In Englewood, N.J., walkers raised $33,000 with the help of an 83-year-old man who joined the walk there for the third year in a row, and a 10-year-old boy who raised $1600 from his sponsors. The vast range of walkers was strikingly evident in Boston where four generations of a single family joined 2000 walkers. In Reading, Pa., Nazi vandalism at a local synagogue brought out more walkers than expected. The 142 participants there carried American and Israeli flags and were accompanied by a police escort as they sang and danced along the route.
OTHER NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
In other highlights, 1000 people participated in Pittsburgh; 2000 people raised $70,000 in Washington; in southern New Jersey 1100 people raised $10,000 and were greeted by the Mayor of Cherry Hill who walked for half a mile with the group which ranged in age from 18-23.
In Hartford there were 1000 walkers and 100 joggers; in Cleveland 1000 participants in an age group from 8 to 80 raised $27,500; and in New York City, where the walk took place last month, 7500 people participated. Twelve regional walks were held throughout the city, Long Island and Westchester County. In most communities, the walk-a-thon was followed by celebrations of Israel’s 30th anniversary which included music festival, torch-runs, candle-lighting ceremonies and rallies.
Summarizing the day’s events, Leonard R. Strelitz, 1978 UJA General Chairman said: “On May 7, tens of thousands of American families throughout the country dramatically demonstrated the spirit of Jewish solidarity. The weather varied, the age of the walkers spanned the human spectrum but the message was the same: We Are One.”