UJA Walk with Israel 2010 to benefit the children of Bat Yam

Annual event takes to the streets of Toronto on Sunday, May 30th

By Daniel Horowitz--It’s hard to believe, but United Jewish Appeal’s annual Walk with Israel is about to turn 42, and will again turn the streets of Toronto into a veritable sea of blue and white on Sunday, May 30th.

By taking part in this year’s event – the largest one-day Israel solidarity walk in the Diaspora – not only will you be showing your support of Israel, you will be helping young children in the city of Bat Yam, with proceeds being allocated through United Israel Appeal Canada to children’s projects. 

Located just south of Tel Aviv, Bat Yam has been plagued with severe unemployment, poor living conditions and an educational system that faces many challenges. The city is also home to a high population of Ethiopian immigrants striving to integrate into Israeli society.

The Walk kick-off party, held at  Coronation Park – across from the CNE’s Princes’ Gates and sponsored by Horizons Betapro ETFs - will begin at 9am, with the Walk starting at 10am, rain or shine. 

This year’s Walk will again be chaired by husband and wife team Lianne and Bruce Leboff.

“Our family has two personal connections to Bat Yam, so chairing this year’s Walk is even more meaningful to Bruce and I,” said Lianne who, along with Bruce and their three daughters Rachel, Stephi and Danielle, spent Passover in the Israeli city. “Our twin daughters have just celebrated their bat mitzvah, and one of them is donating her gifts to a sport and dance program for Ethiopian teens at the community centre there. Our other daughter is using her gifts to provide special needs kids in Toronto with a Jewish camp experience.”

The Leboffs have also been involved with developing Bat Yam’s community garden, which gives elders in the Ethiopian community the opportunity to get back to doing what they do so well, working the land. The community garden is supported by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

“We felt that it was important to co-chair the Walk again this year to build on the experiences we gained after last year’s event,” said Bruce. “We are also delighted to have two outstanding vice chairs in Laurie Sheff and Johnny Cole, both of whom are committed to making this year’s walk the best ever. We hope that children and families in Toronto will be inspired to help those in Bat Yam."

The title sponsor for this year’s Walk with Israel is Metropia Urban Landscapes, a national real estate company devoted to urban development and renewal.

“It was an easy choice for Metropia to sponsor the Walk, which has been a very visible and important part of the GTA’s fabric for decades,” said Howard Sokolowski, CEO of Metropia. “While the Walk supports important, life-changing initiatives in Israel, it’s also a day for families and friends to come together and enjoy all that it has to offer.”

The Walk with Israel ends with the RioCan Festival which starts at 11:30am at The Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, and features carnival rides and games; a petting zoo; Guitar Hero; an Israeli arts and crafts centre; a kosher barbecue; and much more.

 For more information or to register and raise funds online visit walkwithisrael.com or call 416.631.5700.

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