Eleven students from the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, NJ, with their teacher, Rabbi Motti Miller, were the only American high school contingent to run the Jerusalem half marathon (13.1 miles).
Rabbi Miller began running last summer, and decided to invite students to join him as a team and to commit to participating in the marathon in Jerusalem for charity.
The students that took on the challenge began training consistently over the past months, even while Hurricane Sandy was raging. The team included Effie Auman, Yovel Krasner, Yael Rabin and Chaim Reiss from Highland Park, and Rafi Snyder from Edison.
Most of the students took on the challenge with no prior running experience, a considerable feat, considering the fact that the Jerusalem marathon route is one of the most difficult courses – mostly uphill and riddled with cobblestones.
The team approached Shalva, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel, and the organization gave them a special sponsor page on their website, as the first high school team running under their banner.
Each student runner on the team committed to raising a total of $2,700 for Shalva. Their airfare and accommodations were sponsored by private sources, so that all the funds raised went directly to Shalva, a total of more than $37,000.