Jerusalem, Israel - Mar. 11, 2021  - On March 10th, Run4Afikim, an organized charity relay run to Eilat, this year dedicated to the memory of runner Ariel Goldsmith z”l, left from First Station in Jerusalem, Israel.

Gila Rockman spoke of her brother Ariel z"l who was an avid runner and who until this year participated in the relays to Eilat. After introducing Minister of Culture and Sport Yehiel Tropper, she called on runner Rabbi Benny Lau to speak and give a bracha before the relay began. Mincha was outside before the speeches, on the warm Jerusalem evening. In the past, the relay run was a January event, when supporters and runners waited in the cold and dark. The annual event was delayed to March due to the coronavirus restrictions. The pleasant weather at starting time was appreciated by spectators. 

Afikim is a nonprofit organization, established in 2007, striving to provide children-at-risk in Israel, and their parents, with tools to help escape the cycle of poverty through education. 

Moshe Yosef Lefkowitz, born in Tzfat, after years of working in Haredi education, became involved in social service programs for Israel’s poor. Thirteen years ago he started Afikim Family Enrichment  Association, to provide disadvantaged children and their parents with tools to become productive, independent, and successful. 

Run4Afikim (R4A), the longest organized charity relay run in the world, was co-founded by Jason Gardner and Gila and Justin Rockman in 2013. R4A Afikim’s main fundraising event, this year has already raised over 2 million shekels.

On the last day of the run, which takes 36 hours and covers 230 miles, all the relay groups meet up at the entrance to Eilat and run the final few kilometers into the city together. Runners are required to fundraise a minimum amount to participate, with matching amounts from charitable foundations and corporate sponsors.

The photo essay is of scenes at First Station for the start, the pre-run speeches, and for the second year children from AFIKIM came to participate in the first few meters of R4A.