Rae Kushner High School Teens Run Jerusalem Marathon for Charity - Only American School Contingent
Thursday, March 14, 2013 • 5:02am
LIVINGSTON, NJ - What started as a teacher’s desire to get in shape has turned into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of New Jersey high school students. On March 1, eleven students from the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ, along with their teacher Rabbi Motti Miller set out as the only American high school contingent to run the Jerusalem half marathon (13.1 miles) The team raised money for Shalva, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel. To date, the team has raised over $37,000.
Rabbi Miller, who began running this past summer with next to no experience, decided to take up running to get in shape and has since become an avid runner. He had an idea to invite students to join him as a team and commit to running the marathon in Jerusalem for charity. “I thought it would be the perfect way to combine health and fitness with tzedaka (charity), good deeds, and spirituality, key lessons we teach the teens at school – and what better place for our student delegation to run than in Jerusalem,” remarked Rabbi Miller. The arduous route took the runners past magnificent views and showed them Jerusalem's unique culture.
The eleven students that took on the challenge have been training consistently for the last several months, not letting even blizzards or Hurricane Sandy get in the way of their training. The group has met regularly at school to discuss training schedules, share techniques and exercises, compare diet suggestions, and just to glean general support from one another. Several of the students took on the challenge with no prior running experience. All of the training and support was necessary as the Jerusalem marathon route is one of the most difficult marathon courses since it is mostly uphill with a rugged Jerusalem stone-filled terrain.
When the team approached Shalva to participate as a high school group, the organization had to create a special sponsor page on their website since they had never had a high school team run before. Each high school student runner on the RKYHS team committed to raising a total of $2700 for the Shalva organization; their airfare and accommodations have been privately sponsored so that all the funds raised ($37,000 + to date) goes directly to Shalva. The RKYHS team made up only 5% of the entire Shalva marathon delegation, but they raised 10% of the Shalva team’s funds! While in Israel, the student team also took part in other charitable activities including spending time with the Shalva kids, delivering toys to them, in addition to taking in some local sites.