Beth El Congregation Raises Money to Support Israel Through Fitness Challenge

Beth El Congregation’s Israel Affairs Committee successfully raised over $8,000 to support Israel through a virtual physical fitness challenge. We Move for Israel was a unique virtual challenge held for two weeks in December.

Participants were asked to MOVE by engaging in physical activity and self-reporting miles accumulated through activities such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, and others. Activities for which miles are not directly measured such as weight lifting or balance and stretching exercises were converted to a mile equivalent. 

For every mile reported, Beth El member Dr. Jordan Stewart, a podiatrist and fitness enthusiast, pledged a $1 match with a goal of a $5,000 donation to the Associated of Baltimore’s Emergency Fund for Israel.

“Moving is good for the body and soul,” says Dr. Stewart. “I always encourage my patients to exercise and engage in physical fitness. Participation in this event will strengthen our community while supporting Israel.” 

“Because this event was new, we had no idea of what the response would be and our initial goal was to reach 5,000 miles,” says Dr. Kerry Stewart, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Stewart and Robert Slatkin are co-chairs of the Israel Affairs Committee. 

As participants began reporting their miles, the organizers realized that 5,000 miles would easily be reached. Additional matching pledges were made by Kerry and Cherie Stewart, Robert and Eva Slatkin, and other anonymous donors. 

The original goal was exceeded with a final total of 8,313 miles reported by 178 participants resulting in a donation of $8,313. The participants included Beth El members, along with individuals from the Baltimore community and around the country with an average of 46.7 miles per person. 

From a health perspective, Dr. Kerry Stewart, who studies the health benefits of exercise, says, “This was a great response and the variety of activities was impressive. Moving is good for anyone, at any age.” He also notes that “8,313 miles are about 40% more than the distance from Baltimore to Jerusalem, which is quite impressive.”

Every dollar pledged will go directly to the Associated’s Emergency Fund for Israel and participants were also encouraged to make supplemental donations to this fund. 

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