As we ready to turn the calendar from March to April, welcoming Spring by preparing for Pesach, it’s also an indication that one of Massachusetts’ greatest traditions is only weeks away, the 116th running of the Boston Marathon. While Boston is the oldest and most elite marathon in the world, a city whose history dwarfs even Boston’s attracted attention – and runners – for its recent competition.
The 2nd Annual Jerusalem Marathon brought thousands of runners, Israelis and tourists alike, to Israel’s capital city on March 15th. And following the Boston-Haifa Connection Steering Committee meetings, which OTZMAnik Billie Hirsch blogged so beautifully about, several past and present BHC members connected to Israel in a new way by participating in different parts of the Jerusalem Marathon:
Dana Gershon, BHC co-chair
Dan Brosgol, Director of Prozdor
Debbie Kurinsky co-chair of the upcoming Hatikvah Soldiers Mission
Ruth Kaplan, BHC Director
Ariel Libhaber, BHC Assistant Director
While April is one of the most unpredictable months for weather in Boston, we felt the effects of truly unpredictable weather during the Jerusalem Marathon and 10k. Over the course of the route, the weather turned from sunny, to windy to downpours to hail to rain and back.
“Despite the challenging weather and hills on our path, walking through the streets of Jerusalem surrounded by friends was an indescribable experience,” Ariel Libhaber said. “It gave a me a whole new perspective on a city that’s so close to my heart.”
The elements couldn’t detract from the experience of attacking the city’s beautiful but challenging course. Each of the routes, the 4.3km, 10km, half-marathon and full marathon, went in a loop of respective lengths, but all combined for some parts of the course (check out the interactive map here).
The most breathtaking portion of the course came at a juncture you can only find in Jerusalem: winding up and entering the Old City at Jaffa Gate, continuing along the cobblestone past the Tower of David towards the Armenian Quarter and then out of Zion Gate. That moment encapsulated the entire experience as another reminder of how fortunate and blessed we are to be living in this time where the Jewish people are sovereign in our homeland.
BHC Director Ruth Kaplan noted: “We have always maintained that the Boston-Haifa Connection is at its essence an Israel-Diaspora Connection. I can’t think of a more symbolic way to end our Boston-Haifa Steering Committee meetings than to walk together with thousands of fellow lovers of Zion!”
As we recall the Exodus from Egypt, let us also celebrate moments like these that fulfill the yearning of the Hatikvah, “to be a free nation, living in our homeland.”
Left to Right: Ruth Kaplan, Matt Cohen, and Ariel Libhaber.
Matt Cohen was a member of the Boston-Haifa Connection Young Leaders Committee from 2010-11. He made aliyah in January and now lives in Jerusalem.