‘My legs are tired but my heart is full’: Hear the sounds of Toronto’s historic Walk with Israel

Some members of The CJN team at the Walk with Israel on Sunday, June 9, 2024. From left: CEO Michael Weisdorf, The CJN Daily host Ellin Bessner and news editor Lila Sarick. (Ellin Bessner photo)

Ellin Bessner, host of The CJN Daily podcast, was admittedly nervous ahead of Sunday’s 55th annual Walk with Israel, held by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. For weeks, pro-Palestinian protest groups in the city had been threatening to disrupt the important Jewish solidarity march—the first one since the deadly Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

It was stunning watching the record turnout of an estimated 50,000 people—and also seeing the massive police presence that kept a lid on trouble.

But by the time Bessner and her family completed the nearly five-kilometre walk on June 9, her anxiety over the Middle Eastern war and rampant domestic antisemitism fell to the wayside and joy took over, even if only for a short time.

On today’s special feature episode of The CJN Daily, Ellin invites listeners to join her on the walk and meet some of the people she met along the way: Israeli visitors Rami and Vered Gold, who survived the Hamas massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri; Michael Gilmore of Kehillat Shaarei Torah, the Toronto synagogue targeted by two recent hate crime attacks; Dave Fingrut, a public school teacher in Millbrook, Ontario; Noah Shack, UJA’s head of combating antisemitism, and others. Plus, you’ll hear directly from some of the pro-Palestinian protestors when Ellin asks them why they came.

What we talked about:

  • Learn more about Kibbutz Be’eri survivors Rami and Vered Gold, who are touring Canada to raise awareness and funds to rebuild their community
  • Read news editor Lila Sark’s account of the Walk for Israel in The CJN
  • Learn more about the Brodutch family, who attended the walk, after four of whom were held hostage in Gaza for 51 days, on The CJN Daily


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine.  We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.