June 16, 2024
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MTA Students Join Shalva in Jerusalem Half Marathon

Last Wednesday, 14 Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) students accompanied by Elie Hirt of their Student Activities Department flew to Eretz Yisrael with Team Shalva to run in the annual Jerusalem Marathon. Upon arriving in Israel on Thursday, the group went directly to the Shalva facility to see and interact with some of the many disabled children that Shalva helps. After dropping off their luggage at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem, they then went on an impressive tour of the famous Yeshiva Aish HaTorah, which overlooks the Kotel. At the end of the tour, the group went up to the roof, which has one of the most phenomenal views in all of Israel. The group went to daven a meaningful mincha at the Kotel, after which they returned to the hotel to prepare for the big race in the morning.

At 5:00 a.m. on Friday, all the Shalva runners woke up for Shacharis, and immediately afterwards, headed off to begin the main purpose of the trip: the big race. This is what all their training was for. The students’ running times for the half marathon ranged from 1:43 to 2:30. Some students who ran in the 10k also finished with outstanding times. Three hours after beginning the race, everyone gathered back at the hotel for a victory party. The hard part was now over and the boys were ready for some fun. Most of the students went to Machaneh Yehudah where they bought snacks and drinks for Shabbos, while others stayed in the hotel to rest.

Friday night came and the boys anticipated the inspirational Shabbos they had ahead of them. Over Shabbos, the MTA boys met many other students from other yeshiva high schools and heard from famous speakers. As Shabbos came to a close, the participants enjoyed a musical Havdallah led by Rav Motti Miller. They were sad to see Shabbos go, but they knew that there was still more excitement to come. On Motzei Shabbos, the students from MTA and many other schools went to the Cinema City mall; toured the walls outside of the Old City; walked to the plaza outside the Churva Shul for a quick “mifkad” led by Rav Yair Eisenstock; and arrived at the nearby Beis Midrash of Yeshivat Orayta for a siyum and a story. The program concluded with an inspirational kumsitz with Rav Yair. There were tears in their eyes by the end and many students, from all the schools, said this was the highlight of their trip.

The final day of the weekend arrived but MTA’s Elie Hirt made sure the trip would not end with just a simple hotel breakfast. The group set off to the Dead Sea. The students enjoyed a Sheirut ride full of singing, which continued with a kumsitz in the middle of the Yam HaMelach for almost an hour. After returning to Jerusalem, they visited Ben Yehudah for tasty shwarma and gift buying and davened Maariv at the Kotel one last time. The trip found the students back at the hotel just in time to catch the bus to the airport. “Only 363 days until we’re back” said Hershele Vaisman, looking forward to next year.

By Aryeh Margolin

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