Federation ‘Running For Them’ on April 7 to Mark Six Months Since Oct. 7

Tags: Federation, Israel

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Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland aims for at least 1,334 participants at its Ratzim Bishvilam event April 7 to run or walk for the 1,334 killed in Israel or still held hostage since Oct. 7, 2023.


Ratzim Bishvilam, or “Running for Them,” is a community-wide run or walk to mark six months since Hamas attacked Israel, killing over 1,200 people and taking over 240 hostages, of which 134 still remain in Gaza.

“When you register for the event, you’ll get a QR code on your bib and that QR code you could scan it and then learn about that person that either was killed on the seventh of October or is being held hostage,” Mark Holz, chair of Federation’s overseas connections committee, told the Cleveland Jewish News on March 22. “And as you do the march, the walk or the run, you’re doing it with them in mind.”

The event is a “spin-off” of the Federation’s Young Leadership Division’s annual Ratzim Lezichram, “Running in Their Memory,” typically for Yom Hazikaron to honor fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Holz said. It is held in partnership with Run for Their Lives and Nice Jewish Runners, groups which began after Oct. 7, 2023, to bring awareness and advocate for the release of the hostages.


“There is a unique, at least united feeling in Israel right now, definitely with a morbid underpinning,” Joe Hendlin, event co-chair, told the CJN on March 25. “But Israelis who are abroad, Israelis not in Israel feel disconnected in a way. And events like this are really meaningful and I think it’s a great way to show support on that level as well.”

The event is open to the community, but those 14 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult and only service animals will be permitted.

Participants can choose to run or walk the 2-mile loop that begins and ends at the Federation’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building in Beachwood. The city of Beachwood and local law enforcement will assist with blocking off the route from traffic, Hendlin and Holz said.

Prior to the run, a short program will be held featuring Natalia Ben Zvi, whose son Sagiv was killed at the Nova Nusic Festival on Oct. 7, 2023. She spoke with him on the phone as he tried to flee the festival, but the call became disconnected.

Sagiv was believed to have been kidnapped after his phone location pinged in Gaza, but it was later confirmed he was killed at the festival.

“We feel that because we’re running or walking to honor real people like Sagiv, that having Natalia – Sagiv’s mother – here to tell us more about her son and about her experience can do nothing but more deeply connect the community to him,” Holz said. “And connect the community to our sense of obligation to all those who were killed or kidnapped on that day.”

If You Go

WHAT: Ratzim Bishvilam (“Running for Them”): A community-wide run/walk

WHERE: Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building, 25701 Science Park Drive, Beachwood

WHEN: April 7; gates open at 8 a.m., program begins at 8:30 with run/walk to follow. Will be held rain or shine.

INFO: Free to attend. For more information and to register, click here.

Learn More: Federation, Israel