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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!

 

Praying while female at the Kotel

Women of the Wall representative to speak locally

What’s going on with the Women of the Wall now?

What’s happening with gender equality and pluralism in Israel, now that the Israeli election is over?

Women of the Wall, made up of women from across the Jewish spectrum, has fought for the right to pray at the Kotel — Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the symbolic center of Jewish life, the magnet that draws observant and non-observant Jews, non-Jews, poets, and often even skeptics, close to it, as if they were pure iron filings.

The group, which was formed in the late 1980s, has been bolstered by legal wins. Its most important recent victory was the April 2013 decision by Judge Moshe Sobel of the Jerusalem District Court, who ruled that the city police were wrong when they arrested five women for the crime of wearing tallitot at the women’s section of the Kotel.

 

‘Oy vey, my child is gay’

Orthodox parents seek shared connection in upcoming retreat

Eshel, a group that works to bridge the divide that often separates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews from their Orthodox communities, is holding its third annual retreat for Orthodox parents of those LGBT Jews next month.

Although most of its work is done with Orthodox LGBT Jews — who may or may not be the children of the parents at the retreat — the retreat offers parents community, immediate understanding, the freedom to speak that comes with that understanding, the chance to learn, and the opportunity to model healthy acceptance.

“There are particular issues to being Orthodox and having a gay child, although it varies a lot from community to community,” Naomi Oppenheim of Teaneck said. “You worry about what the community is thinking about you. Someone — I don’t remember who — said, ‘When my kid came out, I went into the closet.’”

 

Twenty years later

Stephen Flatow remembers his murdered daughter Alisa

When you ask attorney Stephen Flatow of West Orange how many children he has, his answer is immediate.

“I have five children,” he says.

Not surprising. What father doesn’t know how many children he has?

And how are they doing?

Four of them are flourishing; they are all married and all parents. Mr. Flatow and his wife, Rosalyn, have 13 grandchildren, and another one’s on the way. (And three of the Flatows’ children live in Bergen County.)

But the fifth, his oldest, Alisa, was murdered by terrorists when she was 20; her 20th yahrzeit was last week. She has been dead as long as she was alive.

“Just because she isn’t there now, that doesn’t mean I’m not her father,” he said. “I just don’t have any recent pictures of her to show.”

 

RECENTLYADDED

News from a Jersey girl

CNN’s Dana Bash talks at a benefit for the Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School

Dana Bash is CNN’s chief congressional correspondent.

At 43, she has more than a decade of high-visibility work for the network behind her, and she will provide its coverage of the almost ludicrously crowded Republican field, as more than two dozen candidates compete for camera time and voter approval.

Ms. Bash is also a graduate of Pascack Hills High School, a self-proclaimed Jersey girl, and a deeply committed Jew.

Ms. Bash will speak on Sunday, May 3, at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff, to benefit the Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School in Oakland. Laurie Nahum and Rick Krieger will be honored that evening for their service to the school as well.

 

A Jewish day school with a difference

Shefa School helps students with language disabilities

It took “a giant leap of faith” for Gila Cohen and her husband to send their son from Teaneck to the Shefa School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for fifth grade.

The school, after all, was just opening its doors.

But her son, who had been diagnosed with dyslexia, was struggling at his Bergen County Jewish day school.

“They were helping him but not giving him the skills to read himself. They don’t have time to do that,” Ms. Cohen said.

She in fact had been looking for a non-Jewish school that could help with his disabilities. Then she heard about the Shefa School “and we decided to apply.” The Shefa School promised to be a Jewish school for children with language-based learning disabilities.

 

Press for marriage rights in Israel

North Jersey Board of Rabbis advocates for civil marriage, pluralistic possibilities in the Jewish state

Last week, the North Jersey Board of Rabbis, representing local non-Orthodox clergy, voted unanimously to endorse a resolution to “support a pluralistic approach to marriage in Israel.”

Beginning by saying, simply, clearly, and unequivocally, that “We love the State of Israel. We want it to succeed in every way possible,” the rabbis who signed the document put their names to the call for freedom of religion in Israel.

That would include the chance to have a civil rather than a religious wedding ceremony, or to have a Jewish couple’s wedding officiant belong to a stream of Judaism other than Orthodoxy.

“The North Jersey Board of Rabbis is transdenominational, and we have debated informally for a while if we should be taking stands on public issues,” Rabbi Steven Sirbu of Temple Emeth in Teaneck, its president, said. “This issue is one that non-Orthodox rabbis have grappled with for a long time.”

 
 
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