Five Towns Fundraiser

Five Towns 5K will aid disabled Israeli vets


Grab your running shoes, the 15th annual Beit Halochem International Five Towns 5K begins on Sunday, June 9 in North Woodmere Park, with the starter’s pistol firing at 10 am, sharp.

Proceeds benefit disabled Israeli military veterans through the US-based Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans. Beit Halochem International is the only organization in the United States devoted exclusive to raising money for the rehabilitation of wounded Israeli veterans

Isaac Seinuk — co-chair of Beit Halochem USA-Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans — founded this race in 2009 with the support and sponsorship of the Maidenbaum Property Tax Reduction Group.

“Running a community-based organization for over 35 years, we believe in ‘for the community, from the community,’ and our community is well-known for supporting Israel and Israeli causes,” said Shalom Maidenbaum, founding and managing member of the property tax group. “In these challenging and faithful times both for the state of Israel and American Jewry, it is imperative that we all do our part for the community here and in Israel.”

Maidenbaum helped get the race off the ground and supported Seinuk, serving as the “father” of the event.

The 5K starts in North Woodmere Park, making its way through the local streets of North Woodmere with major stretches on Cliffside Avenue and Flanders Drive — along with a path through Nutley Place, Glenridge Avenue, Mulberry Place, Cranford Avenue and Kilmer Lane — before ending back at the park for an awards ceremony.

Other sponsors include Young Israel of North Woodmere, Young Israel of Woodmere, Congregation Beth Sholom, and the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach. Volunteers are provided by the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway.

Beit Halochem was not well known in the United States back then, but the Five Towns 5K changed that significantly. Seinuk’s goal was to have runners return each year to help support the cause and donate.

“I felt very strongly that I wanted to do something for Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans in order to raise funds, and much more importantly, to raise awareness,” Seinuk said.

The organization was established to help assist the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, formed in 1949 following Israel’s War of Independence, according to the group’s website. There are currently four active locations in Israel with a fifth in the works.

Every year, Beit Halochem USA raises close to $30,000 from the North Woodmere event, Seinuk said, with this year’s donations expected to go even higher.

“Over the past 15 years, we’ve raised over a half a million dollars, if not more, for Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans,” he added.

The race provides needed money to help disabled soldiers receive physical rehabilitation and mental health services, especially for those who live without limbs, or are managing other permanent disabilities.

“This year, the need is multiple times more,” since the war began on Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, said Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of the Israel Chesed Center. “We now have over 50,000 wounded soldiers from this current war.”

While runners from the Five Towns and beyond put their own bodies on the line, they recognize the sacrifices being made by the soldiers they’re looking to help, fighting for the defense of the Jewish people.

“Right before this current war, we’d helped 52,000 wounded soldiers,” said Tzvia Wexler, national developing director for Beit Halochem USA. “Unfortunately, now we had an additional 13,000 physically wounded and 15,000 to 20,000 with PTSD.”

New programs and therapy are continually added to aid the Israeli disabled veterans in ways that keep them active, healthy, and socially connected.

“The mental issues are just as important as the physical issues,” Seinuk said. “This organization serves as a second home for those that are disabled.”

Registration remains open until the day of the race. For more information, visit