July 25, 2024
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Running in the Right Direction

Livingston—March 11th through March 15th was a special time for 18 Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School students. These students took it upon themselves to run either a 10K or half-marathon in Jerusalem in order to raise over $50,000 for the Shalva Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel. This was the third annual trip to Jerusalem for RKYHS, however, it was the first to take place without the help of their much-missed assistant principal, Rabbi Motti Miller. At first the school wasn’t sure they would offer the opportunity to run in Jerusalem without Rabbi Miller’s leadership. However, students successfully lobbied the school administration to send a team to Jerusalem this year. Everyone spoken to about the race had an amazing time in Israel. Second-time runner Binyamin Brickman, RKYHS junior, said, “I wish I was still in Israel. The trip went by way too fast…it ran by me,” (no pun intended).

Senior Daniela Berk trained on and off for four months in order to run her first half-marathon in Israel. What inspired her and the other students not only to run either six or 13.1 miles, but also to raise at least $2,700 apiece? Berk said that what initially motivated her to run was the promise of a trip to Israel, but what ultimately made the trip important to her was the fact that she was running for Shalva. Besides providing programming for special needs kids, Shalva provides the families of these children with food if they cannot afford it, making it an extremely important charity.

The trip also included visits to the Kotel, Ben Yehuda Street, and the Shuk. Even with all these experiences, Brickman still said that the most memorable part of the trip was when the Shalva Association put a medal on him at the conclusion of the run. “It was so meaningful,” he said, “because they really appreciate what we’ve done and it’s a huge mitzvah.” Junior Daisy Gulco, a first-time participant, agreed that the run was extremely meaningful because “…Shalva can help so many people and…[this trip allowed me to] help out in whatever way I can.”

This program is open to all RKYHS students who have the persistence to train and the ability to raise money for a worthy cause. All of the runners spoken to would encourage their fellow students to try to run next year. They just have to “train and put your mind to it,” said Brickman.

By Becky Weisberg, RKYHS freshman

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