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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.

 

Paying it forward

Remembering Gabby Reuveni’s generous spirit

Just a glance at the web page created in memory of Gabby Reuveni of Paramus gives some indication of the number of people she touched and — through the ongoing efforts of her family — she continues to touch.

Killed two years ago in Pennsylvania by a driver who swerved onto the shoulder of the road, where she was running, Gabby, who was 20, was “an extremely aware and kind person,” her mother, Jacqueline Reuveni, said. “We’re continuing her legacy.”

The family has undertaken both public and private “acts of kindness,” she said, from endowing scholarships to meeting local families’ medical bills.

According to her father, Michael Reuveni, Gabby — then a student at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the school’s track team — was a victim of vehicular homicide.

 

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Mississippi burning, remembered

Puffin marks jubilee of Freedom Summer

It was a summer that changed lives.

It was a fight for American democracy in the face of terrorism.

It was dubbed “Freedom Summer,” and it drew 700 college students and young adults to help Mississippi activists fight for civil rights.

The year was 1964.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech the previous August, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In Washington, a far-reaching civil rights bill that would desegregate public facilities had been introduced to Congress by President Lyndon Johnson — but quickly stalled and was then filibustered for months.

 

Adding to Jewish life in Clifton

Rabbi Moshe Mirsky heads religious services department at Daughters of Miriam

Rabbi Moshe Mirsky thinks his new position as the director of religious services at the Daughters of Miriam Center/Gallen Institute in Clifton is a perfect shidduch.

Actually, it is not quite a new job. Rabbi Mirsky had already worked there with Rabbi Ira Kronenberg, who just retired from the home this month, in the late 1980s. Back then Rabbi Mirsky was studying for simicha — rabbinic ordination. He worked there once again in the 1990s, while he was teaching at various day schools.

“I would come on the weekends for Shabbat and on yom tov to assist Rabbi Kronenberg,” he said. “I would lead davening, give Torah classes, go to the Alzheimer’s unit, and try to engage the residents Jewishly. I had a special rapport with Rabbi Kronenberg and the residents.”

Indeed, then he already was doing many of the things he is doing now as director of religious affairs.

 

Poor assumptions = poor policy

ZOA’s congressional lobbyist talks about Israel, Oslo, and plans doomed to fail

The two-state solution is a chimera, Joshua London says. It is a lovely vision of something that never can be real, and chasing it — chasing the plan that would make Israel and Palestine two separate states, living next to each other in prickly but sustainable peace — is chasing the wind.

Mr. London, who lives in suburban Maryland, is the Zionist Organization of America’s co-director of government affairs. He will be taking a break from his daily routine — lobbying Congress to further the ZOA’s own understanding of the Middle East — to speak at a parlor meeting in Teaneck on Wednesday.

His goal, he said, “is to bring clarity and critical analysis to the longstanding U.S. policy for support of — and in fact to apply pressure toward — the creation of a Palestinian state from territory that otherwise belongs to Israel, and to do so under the notion that this will bring peace.”

 
 
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