by Deborah Shatz
(May 17, 2015) Yom Yerushalayim was celebrated around the Jewish world and of course in Edmonton with a “unity walk” from Talmud Torah School to the Beth Israel Synagogue. It was a unity walk because it was commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War. It was also a unity walk because it was a celebration that included many groups within the Edmonton Jewish community coming together in a show of unity.
The event started with a beautiful sunny day. The great weather beckoned hundreds to participate in a fun filled family event. Families met at Talmud Torah with a short welcome speech from Rabbanit Batya Friedman explaining the significance of Yom Yerushalayim and the importance of unity in our community. Steven Shafir also wished everyone well on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.
Various sports activities and crafts were held at the school until 12:30 pm when everyone in attendance embarked on a Jerusalem March (and walk, ride, roller blade) to Beth Israel. What a wonderful sight to behold! Close to 300 people marched with Israeli flags to celebrate modern day Jerusalem and also to celebrate our Jewish community here in Edmonton.
The celebration continued at Beth Israel with a hot dog lunch and other snacks (slushi machine, cotton candy and popcorn) provided by Camp Gan Israel. The children in attendance enjoyed balloon animals, a bouncy castle and a PJ Library reading corner. Families visited, ate, shmoozed and enjoyed the sunny weather in a wonderful and relaxed atmosphere.
The event was a huge success. There was an impressive level of participation among organizations and a large number of families attended. Jewish Federation, PJ Library, Talmud Torah, Menorah Academy, Camp Gan Israel, Beth Israel, Beth Shalom, Kollel/EDGE, Na’amat Women, National Council of Jewish Women, Emunah Women, Beit Horim, Temple Beth Ora, Edmonton Jewish News and Jewish National Fund Edmonton all participated by sponsoring funds and/or activities for the event.
Commemorative frisbees were distributed for the children and their families to enjoy.
All in all it was a wonderful celebration. Kol Hakavod to all the organizations who participated; especially Beth Israel and Talmud Torah for continuing to demonstrate the value of collaborative events and to Jewish Federation of Edmonton for co-sponsoring the event and for providing flags and security.
Meanwhile in Israel, thousands of people participated in the annual Jerusalem Day march, which runs through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter en route to the Western Wall.