TEAM YACHAD JERUSALEM IS RACING IN TOMORROW’S MARATHON TO RAISE FUNDS AND AWARENESSS FOR YACHAD’S VITAL WORK FOR INCLUSION
Members of last year’s Team Yachad Jerusalem in action.
Excitement is in the air, and sneakers are being broken in, as Team Yachad Jerusalem, 214 runners strong, anticipates reaching the finish line “running hand in hand” at the Jerusalem 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon tomorrow—Friday, March 1. For the second year, Team Yachad Jerusalem members have committed to raise funds and awareness for the vital work of Yachad’s Israel Chapter: Promoting Inclusion for those living with disabilities within the broad Jewish community.
Each participant has committed to raising $500 for Yachad/NJCD | Jewish Disabilities Inclusion. By committing to the mission, runners raise much-needed funds which allow Yachad to continue its vital work. In return, Yachad provides a personalized training regimen offered by Coach Chaim Wizman of Bet Shemesh; official Team Yachad race gear; guaranteed race admission; a pre-race pasta party and post-race BBQ.
Straight from the race, Team Yachad members will spend an Inclusive and inspiring Shabbat in Sderot with members of Yachad Israel.
Sponsors of Team Yachad Jerusalem include Café/Café, the Jerusalem Post, Soho Gift Shop, and “MyPlace” Realty.
Radio personality Nachum Segal will be live with commentary on the Nachum Segal Network (nachumsegal.com ) joining Team Yachad Jerusalem with a webradio show from the finish line.
Yachad/the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), an agency of the Orthodox Union, is dedicated to enhancing the opportunities of individuals with disabilities, promoting Inclusion and independence through various integrated activities and ensuring their participation in the full spectrum of Jewish life.
Last fall, Yachad brought its programming to Israel, with the opening of a chapter based in Jerusalem. According to Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, NJCD national director, this action was taken as part of a expansion to meet the Jewish community’s increasing demands for social and recreational Inclusive programming, whether in North America or in Israel.
This year is the third Jerusalem Marathon, organized by the Jerusalem Municipality. More than 20,000 runners from 51 countries are currently registered.
“Our oldest runner is 74 years old, and our youngest is 12,” Yachad Israel Director Yoel Sterman, who is the coordinator of Team Yachad Jerusalem, explained. “Joining two Americans flying in specifically to run with us, are English speakers from the United States, England and Australia who are temporary residents in Israel; and English speakers who made aliyah to Israel.”
“I have a grandson who has autism and it makes me happy to know that I can help many kids by running for them with Team Yachad,” shared Yehuda Berren, the oldest member of Team Yachad Jerusalem, who has already raised close to $2,000 as a returning member of the team. “I’m excited and working hard on training so I can beat my record from last year.”
Reflecting on his experience in 2012, Mr. Berren said, “I walked the Jerusalem 10K as a proud member of Team Yachad. Last year’s race was shortly after I broke my ankle and was walking with the aid of a walker. After completing physical therapy on my own, with much help from Hashem, I was able to walk the 10K with Team Yachad and all of my new friends I met along the way. My Team Yachad mates were very helpful in encouraging me to continue to race even as the rain poured down from above. One of my friends didn’t believe that I would go through with the race but he supported me to aid Jews with disabilities. I was the only grandfather on Team Yachad and I am very proud of that! Let us go m’chail l’chial—strength to strength.”
Other Team Yachad members include a family with a young man who had his Purim bar mitzvah celebration together with Yachad; a 15-year-old who will be running the full marathon after participating in last year’s half-marathon; and a member of Team Yachad who ran in the ING Miami half-marathon just last month.
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