On Memorial Day, over 200 people gathered for the 21st annual 5K L’Chaim Run/Walk for Israel in front of the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates.

In the preliminary program, Dovid Pearlman sang HaTikvah and then the Star-Spangled Banner. Following that, New York City Councilman Jim Gennaro welcomed everyone and said we are running for Israel. He stated that we have to push back against anti-Semitism. He noted that we make sure Judaism is part of this community and this country.

Next, Itay Milner, Israeli diplomat and the new spokesperson and Consul for Media Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York, greeted the crowd. He shared how Israel is tops in technology, water treatment, and security. “Israel is leading the way.” He noted that over 1,000 rockets were launched at Israel just in the month of May, and the alliance with the United States helped to protect the country.

This writer would like to note that, of course, we know that Hashem was and is the real protection.

“This alliance with the United States is not possible without the diaspora Jews,” Mr. Milner said. Over the next 75 years, we will succeed like the first 75. He also encouraged everyone to come out to the Celebrate Israel Parade in Manhattan on Sunday.

Following this, Linda Spiegel, Director of Public Affairs for Margaret Tietz, said that she was glad to be at the run, representing Margaret Tietz, which is always happy to help the community. She shared that the facility has a full-time rabbi, Rabbi Zavel Pearlman (no relation to singer Dovid Pearlman), and it is a big supporter Israel and the Jewish community. “We are proud to be a big sponsor this year of the L’Chaim 5k Run/Walk for Israel.”

Next, walkers and runners lined up, most wearing their L’Chaim 5K T-shirts. Rabbi Mayer Waxman blew the shofar to start the race.

The sun shone on the peonies, roses, rhododendron, and greenery surrounding the lovely homes in Jamaica Estates as participants followed the trail. Officials signaled walkers and runners as to which way to go, and police graciously stood at various points, directing traffic and providing courteous security.

“It felt great to be supporting Israel,” one participant noted. Two young men who ran and won medals were heading to Israel that very day, later in the afternoon.

“It’s a fun run/walk in a beautiful area, and it feels so good to be doing this for Eretz Yisrael,” another participant noted.

Some people pushed double strollers or strollers. There was lots of camaraderie and a happy feeling as each person crossed the finish line.

Although this writer took over an hour to finish trekking the trail and didn’t win a medal, it was still a winning day! There were participants of all ages all the way up to age 75. Next year, we should all be in Yerushalayim enjoying our 5K there!

The main organizers of the race were Dror Rosenfeld, Lenny Brafman, Adam Orlow, and Susan Kass.

After the trophy awards ceremony, there was a concert with Dovid Pearlman, and there was a bounce house, free ice cream, pizza, and Israeli food. There were 230 people registered for this year’s race. The race was started by Rebbetzin Karen Hochberg. Margaret Tietz was the main sponsor this year, and there were multiple sponsors and vendors.

This year’s race was all outdoors, and it was a big success!

By Susie Garber