Secular and Religious Jews Renew Sukkot Pilgrimage

Head of group bringing Jews of all stripes together for Sukkot pilgrimage tells Arutz Sheva all about the march for unity.

Benny Toker ,

Connecting to Jerusalem
Connecting to Jerusalem
Hillel Lederman

The Jerusalem regional council and "Meetchabrim (Connecting) – Building a future together" organization are preparing to host their third annual march "Connecting on the Way to Jerusalem," set to take place during the intermediary days of Sukkot next week.

In the march, around 10,000 children and adults both religious and secular will make their way on three different routes to the 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish people.

Avihu Sofer, co-chairman of "Meetchabrim" and a member of the Petah Tikva city council, told Arutz Sheva that the Sukkot holiday - one of three pilgrimage holidays to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as stipulated in the Torah - is the best time to connect the Jewish people.

"Thousands of people will march together and connect together, and also connect to Jerusalem," Sofer said.

"There's an opportunity here to tour on the intermediary days of Sukkot in the hills of Jerusalem and to march on three routes, starting from the four kilometer route for families up to the hardest route which is 16 kilometers."

The organization co-chair said each route has "content sukkot (booths), in which joint activities will be held in which the marchers will meet all the different hues of Israeli society."

At the central stop at Horvat Saadim, rock bands will perform alongside hassidic singers, and performances and workshops will also be held. For those wanting to stay over there's even a special camping area set up with sukkot and Mehadrin kosher meals.

The marchers will include members of the Sha'ar, Frenkel and Yifrah families. Gilad Sha'ar (16), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) were abducted and murdered last summer by Hamas terrorists in Judea.

"We all experienced this difficult case and these families of indescribable strength will raise the incident into unity of the people of Israel," said Sofer.

"In this march we in essence are renewing the tradition of the pilgrimage (to Jerusalem) and in parallel are trying to connect together and strengthen the unity in the people," he explained.

"One of the largest dangers for Israeli society is the division and polarization between us," he concluded. "We reason that here is an opportunity to meet different people, secular and religious, periphery and center (of the country), out of a goal to unify."