Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Young Jews Return to AIDS Walk SF

Posted by challahbackgirl on July 23, 2007

Oyster pimping his Oy-Bay.org shirt at AIDS Walk SF, July 15, 2007If you took a look at the pictures from Oyster and my visit to The Golden Ball, you might be wondering why we’re all in matching shirts. We don’t usually dress alike, but before checking out the new restaurant we did the AIDS Walk SF with team Congregation Beth David‘s Young Adult Group. Oyster was also pimping his Oy-Bay jacket.

He’s been AIDS walking since high school and loves the AIDS Walk for it’s size and social environment and of course the free drink and food distributed at the 3 checkpoints along the 10k course in Golden Gate Park. Hear what he has to say below.

It’s my second year organizing Team Congregation Beth David. Read CBDYAGs event review. Catch up on last year’s AIDS Walk as posted by ALilyAmongThorns. We had another great year. We all walk for different reasons, some just to socialize with their fellow MOT, and others in memory of some one. One of my elementary school principles died of AIDS, which is was my introduction to HIV and AIDS.

For team member Ironwire,

The 2007 AIDS Walk was a great experience, just as it is every year. I was given the opportunity to walk with 24,999 other people who also saw the importance of finding a cure. Of the 25,000 people that were there, the sponsors of those people must have been well over 1 million. There are a lot of reasons why I walk. For me, having lost a relative from AIDS, the walk had a special meaning. I walk to honor my uncle.
There are other benefits as well. With 25,000 people walking with you down a rather narrow road through Golden Gate Park, you see things you might not normally see, and are given the opportunity to speak with people that you might not normally meet.

For Ironwire this experience was meeting and chatting with Rabbi Pressman, senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth David who walked with our Young Adults as well as Fred the dog.

Our shirts featured the quote “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to ignore it.” Pirkei Avot 2:21. Believe me, no one was ignoring the task at hand. To date the walk raised over 4.5 million, which is not only an AIDS Walk SF record, but is the largest single-day AIDS fundraiser ever in California. Our team helped raise over $3,000 of that total. Don’t ignore the task either; you can sponsor our walkers until August 10th at 5pm.

The funds raised from the walk go to support the SF AIDS Foundation and 42 other local organizations, serving 6 Bay Area counties, providing programs, services, research and education on prevention, testing and care. According to SF AIDS Foundation and walk organizers; “in the Bay Area alone, more than 26,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS. One-quarter of those infected with HIV do not even know it.” This years walk, the 21st annual AIDS Walk SF, was the first to feature free HIV/AIDS testing.

Our Team table was again next to B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Central Region West team and a few tables over from the Camp Newman/Swig table filled with our Jewish High School friends.

Team Congregation Beth David walking in AIDS Walk SF July 15, 2007“Walking in the chilly fog was a nice contrast to last year’s sunny weather. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. There was a really good synergy within our group of walkers.” says Israela.

Opening ceremonies included performances and speeches from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Craig Miller, founder and producer of the walk, Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck), Dan Ashley, Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives), Cast members from Jersey Boys, Jenifer Lewis, Brent Barrett (Phantom: The Vegas Spectacular), and Andrea Marcovicci.For those that haven’t experienced the walk, there are volunteers cheering on walkers and entertainment acts [see videos below] along the way to keep the spirits high and three check points with walker and other munchies, provided by the many sponsors of the event. While everyone finishes the walk there’s a post walk concert and the announcement of the total raised. The post walk concert included the musical talents of The Del Mars, Finding Mercury, and Native Elements.

While the pictures and videos are wonderful, you really can’t sum up the experience without being there. So consider lacing up next year.

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