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Calling Jewish runners

 
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The first Jewish runners club, JRunners, was recently founded in Brooklyn by three 30-ish Brooklynites: Steven Friedman (no relation to this writer), Matt Katz, and Saul Rosenblum, who love to run. What they love even more is running for good causes, so when a neighbor contracted ALS, a severe degenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, they put together a non-profit organization to bring Jewish runners together to raise money for charity. Their tag line is “We Run for Those Who Can’t!” and their first race is for the benefit of that ALS family. Each runner will raise a minimum of $1,000 and will be given tools to help him accomplish that goal.

Spokesman Friedman put it this way, “JRunners is the first Jewish running and fund-raising organization that we know of. Our runners have their laces tied tight and are ready to run. Anyone of any creed, color, or religion is invited to join us, but … this particular race is men only.”

JRunners is seeking 100 runners and other volunteers (women welcome) to register for the 200K relay. It will take 10 teams of 10 runners through some of the most scenic (and Jewish) areas of the United States and take approximately 22 hours to complete. It’s split into 30 legs; each runner completes three legs, running a total of 12 miles. There is a major handoff in Bergen County at CNBC on 9W in Englewood Cliffs and another in Wesley Hills in Rockland County.

Volunteers are needed in various capacities, including being posted at transition areas to assure proper runner handoff and to patrol the course.

Teams will be provided with RV vehicles equipped with restrooms, beds, and showers between the various exchange points. The course starts at a minus-3-foot elevation and ends at a plus-1,588-foot elevation with a total ascent of 4,347 feet and a total descent of 3,291 feet.

At the finish line, runners and volunteers will be greeted with a kosher barbecue and a concert. The winning team will receive a trophy and a night out in New York City. Special awards will also recognize the top three fund raisers, and every runner who makes it to the finish line will receive a finisher’s medal.

For information or to register, go to www.jrunners.org. Those who register before May 1 get a $50 discount, a free JRunners T-Shirt, and other perks.

The course
The course

The course, 125 miles long, goes from Brooklyn to the Borscht Belt via the Brooklyn Bridge, across Manhattan (passing the Tweed Courthouse and City Hall), down to the West Side and up river. Runners will trace the Hudson to the George Washington Bridge, and cross into Bergen County while getting an eyeful of those majestic cliffs, the Palisades. They will clip along Route 9W North through the Tenafly Nature Reserve, Closter, Alpine, and then back into New York State. The race continues west along Route 59 through Spring Valley, Monsey, Wesley Hills, and into Harriman State Park.

Passing Lake Welch, the runners will cross over Route 17, headed for Tuxedo and Warwick. From there the course winds along Route 1 to Pine Island and up the Pine Island Turnpike to Route 209 and Cold Spring Road, which will bring the runners to Monticello, Kiamesha Lake, and finally, Route 42 into Fallsburg.

 
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Stay tuned for the return of comments

Joe T posted 23 Apr 2010 at 09:00 PM

THESE GUYS TOOK MY IDEA…. I TOTALLY WANTED TO DO A LONG DISTANCE RELAY…

ANYONE WANT TO JOIN A TEAM WITH ME?? I’M A 7 MINUTE MILE RUNER

THANKS,

JOE

JR posted 23 Apr 2010 at 10:03 PM

If you like the idea, just sign up and they will orgenize a team for you.
In order to maintain a strong competition between teams, their race director is creating the teams so that teams stay close to one another and have a tight finish.

I had the guts to sign up! I’m so excited. I got pledges of $1865 already. I’m gunning for 10K!

I hope to meet up with you.
Good luck Joe T!

 

A rabbi hasn’t walked into the bar ... yet

It’s not every day that a liquor license comes up for sale in Teaneck. (State licensing laws limit the number of licenses in a formula based on a town’s population.)

So when Jonathan Gellis heard that the owner of Vinny O’s in Teaneck was looking to sell the establishment, including the license, after 28 years behind the bar, he realized that only one of the more than 20 kosher restaurants in Teaneck could sell alcohol.

That seemed to be an opportunity.

Mr. Gellis is a stockbroker by day. He’s used to working in a regulated business — and the alcohol business in New Jersey is highly regulated.

Mr. Gellis grew up in Teaneck; his parents moved the family here from Brooklyn in 1975, back when the town had only one kosher restaurant. His four children attend Yeshivat Noam and the Frisch School, and he serves on the board of both institutions. He also is president of Congregation Keter Torah.

 

The converso’s dilemma

Local group goes to New Mexico to learn about crypto-Jews

Imagine that you were raised as a Catholic. Then one day — perhaps as a beloved parent or grandparent lay dying and leaned over to whisper something in your ear — you learned that your family once was Jewish. Your ancestors were converted forcibly some 500 years ago.

For those people all over the world who have had that experience, the next step is not entirely clear. Do they jump in with both feet and vigorously pursue their new Jewish identities, or do they simply go about their business, choosing to do nothing with this new information? These dilemmas, and more, were the subject of a recent Road Scholar program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The topic — “New Mexico’s Conversos and Crypto-Jews” — continues to fascinate both Jews and non-Jews, as evidenced by the religious identity of the attendees. Among those participating in this month’s session — there are 10 such programs held each year — were five residents from our area, including this author.

 

How to learn Hebrew

Confronting American Jews’ linguistic illiteracy, many programs offer help

Can you read a Hebrew newspaper or order a meal in an Israel restaurant? If you’re like the vast majority of American Jews, the answer is no.

“Half of Jews (52%), including 60% of Jews by religion and 24% of Jews of no religion, say they know the Hebrew alphabet,” according to last October’s “Portrait of Jewish Americans,” the famous study released by the Pew Research Center.

“But far fewer (13% of Jews overall, including 16% of Jews by religion and 4% of Jews of no religion) say they understand most or all of the words when they read Hebrew,” the report continues.

Alarmed by this finding, the World Zionist Organization, the Israeli Education Ministry, and several partner organizations recently launched the Hebrew Language Council of North America to help more Jews become conversant in the language of their literature, lore, and land — as well as the language of their peers in Israel.

 

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Helping kids play outside again

There’s an image from his trip to Israel last week that Jason Shames, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, cannot get out of his head.

Shames was with a delegation of 125 administrative and fundraising executives from the Jewish Federations of North America. They traveled together to Greece and Israel to assess overseas needs.

“Obviously there has been a lot of change in itinerary due to what’s been going on,” Mr. Shames said on Sunday, referring to Operation Protective Edge and the constant salvos from Gaza.

“Since we landed in Israel on Thursday, when things started escalating, we spent time devising what an emergency campaign should look like, and we decided to take a small group to show support in Sderot and Beersheva.”

 

Rabbi Ira Kronenberg retires

Rabbi Ira Kronenberg of Passaic clearly has staying power.

He also has a strong sense of responsibility and a deep concern for the people he serves.

Director of religious services at the Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute in Clifton for some 39 years, the rabbi also enjoyed a long association — from 1972 to 2008 — with the United States Army. In both arenas, he played many roles and touched the lives of countless people.

At Daughters of Miriam, Rabbi Kronenberg conducted religious services, paid pastoral visits, supervised the kitchens, mentored social work students during their internships, and served as staff coordinator for the ethics committee and the residents’ council.

 

Shoes, glorious shoes

Local couple finds success weaving footware

Today, the shoes that Itamar Carmi of Teaneck designs with his wife, Rachel, are found in 1,200 stores around the world.

But his adventures in the shoe trade started with a bad loan in New York City.

Mr. Carmi had grown up in Tel Aviv. After the army, he studied at university for a year before deciding it wasn’t for him. So he came to New York to seek his fortune. The year was 1985.

He wasn’t penniless. He had enough money to lend a not insignificant amount to a friend who owned a shoe store on Fifth Avenue.

Rather than being repaid, he was brought on as a partner and an employee.

 
 
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