13.1 Miles at My Age?

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JJ and friends at last year's marathon.

The 2012 Team Yachad Marathon was my first marathon run. It was also my first time at a Team Yachad Shabbos–this despite my son, JJ, being a Yachad member  for about nine years.

JJ and friends at last year's marathon.
JJ and friends at last year’s marathon.

Just the year before, my wife made me aware of the Yachad half-marathon. I told her I could never run for 13.1 miles at my age, even though I lead a physically active lifestyle. But, of course–with skepticism about completing it successfully–I signed up to run.

The Shabbos spent with Team Yachad before the run was the perfect setting, a beautiful and warm atmosphere. The understanding of why I was supposed to be there unfolded over that weekend: If my son, JJ, and other members of Yachad are able to function socially in the Jewish community, who am I to doubt that I have the ability to complete 13.1 miles of a marathon?

The achdut (sense of unity), excitement and purpose of being together grew with every passing minute of Shabbos. It continued through Motzei Shabbos and into the early Sunday morning hours as I stood on the starting line at the American Arena in Miami with my fellow runners.

I completed the 13.1 miles with the spiritual and physical high of knowing that I accomplished this for and because of Yachad–just as my son, JJ, has had such significant accomplishments because of Yachad. I have signed up with Team Yachad for the 2013 ING Marathon on January 27 together with JJ, with the knowledge that with the support of Yachad, both he and I can accomplish anything.


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Stanley Goldstein, M.D., is the father of an active senior Yachad member, JJ Goldstein, who regularly attends Yachad Shabbatonim and events. 

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.