An Exercise In Unity

An Exercise In Unity

Dr. Ada Berkowitz has demonstrated for Israel, last month in Washington. She has marched for Israel, earlier this month in the Salute to Israel Parade in Manhattan. Next week she will run for Israel, closer to her Queens home.
Berkowitz, a pediatrician, will take part in the Run for Israel sponsored by Young Israel of Jamaica Estates on Memorial Day: Monday, May 27, 10:30 a.m. in the Cunningham Park area.
image2goeshere A 9:30 a.m. youth sprint for children will precede the boroughwide run/walk. The event is being co-sponsored by some 100 local businesses and Jewish organizations.
"I would probably do a morning run" on a vacation day, says Berkowitz, 47, who jogs several times a week. "I’m doing this because it’s for Israel. With what’s going on in Israel, it has to become a priority to support Israel."
Her teenage sons, Dani and Yoni, might join her. Her husband, Dr. Dov Berkowitz, will "cheer me or he’ll walk."
Carrying the motto "United We Stand!" the event has garnered support throughout the Jewish community, from synagogues across the denominational spectrum, from the unaffiliated and active members of the Jewish community, from El Al and the Israel Government Tourism Office, says Karen Hochberg, a co-chair.
"I think everyone wants to do something for Israel," she said.
"It’s a question of the cause," said Rabbi Jonathan Pearl of the Reform congregation Temple Sholom of Floral Park. "I think there should be no one who considers themselves Jewish or moral or civilized who does not support Israel."
Leor Sinai, Long Island/Queens coordinator for the Jewish National Fund, said the need for unity is increasing. JNF is a major sponsor of the event, along with the cellular phone company CNCG, Tal Tours, Tagger Diamonds, Amit Women and Emunah of America.
"Getting everyone involved is more a show of unity than just one synagogue," Sinai said.
Other sponsoring firms, including hotels, restaurants and camps, have donated $20,000 in gifts and an equal amount in services to a raffle that features two round-trip tickets to Israel, diamond earrings from Israel, Mets tickets and kosher dinners.
Max & Mina’s Ice Cream will provide sundaes to participants after the race, massage therapists will volunteer their services on an as-knead basis, and a variety of Jewish organizations will set up information tables in the park.
Participants in the youth sprints will receive awards, pre-registrants in the run/walk will receive T-shirts and age-group trophies in the run will be awarded.
The run/walk’s tentative goal is 1,000 participants and $20,000 raised. The proceeds will be donated to organizations that benefit various Israeli projects, including those for the victims of terrorism, Hochberg said.
"People have been extremely generous," she said.
The 5-kilometer run (3.1 miles) will be officially timed by Quantum Feet, a local runners’ organization.
The Young Israel, where Hochberg’s husband, Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, serves as spiritual leader, sponsored a fund raiser for the synagogue five years ago. Two hundred people participated; $2,500 was raised.
This year, Hochberg said, "We decided to do it for Israel; it was a no-brainer. Shlomo and I were looking for projects that involve the whole family."
The race will start with a shofar blast. "That’s what we did last time," Hochberg recalled.
She and her co-chairs, Lenny Brafman and Hillel Bryk, were among 70 people who helped found a 10-committee Israel Action Coalition at the congregation last month. The coalition has already established a Web site ( and bought an armored vehicle to be used by Jewish communities in the Israeli territories.

Race-day registration is $20 for adults; $10 for children aged 5 to 14. Registration is from 9 to 10:15 a.m. at 190th Street and 81st Avenue. For information, call (718) 479-7500. The event will be held rain or shine.

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