It’s almost April, which means Marathon Monday is almost upon us. Jessica Fradkin and Emily Leventhal are running this year on April 21 as part of Team CJP. I had a chance to ask the two women why they’re running for CJP and how their training is going. To help Team CJP reach their goal of $12,500, please click here.
Why are you running the Boston Marathon for CJP? What brings you to this community?
Emily: Last year there was a sign at the marathon expo that read, “You say heartbreak, I say love affair.” It embodies exactly how I feel about the marathon, and it also speaks to my commitment to CJP. Our work to build the future of the Jewish community isn’t easy, but I lead with love and excitement for what lies ahead of us.
I’m running this year for CJP because of what CJP was able to do for the Boston community after the marathon last year, including bringing in the Israel Trauma Coalition to help people cope in the aftermath of the bombings. It’s because of our dedication and persistence to improve our communities—Boston and Israel—that I’m running the marathon for Team CJP.
Jessica: As a child of two Massachusetts Jews, CJP has been in my lexicon since I can remember. In later years, CJP has provided me with multiple amazing and life-changing experiences; it only seems appropriate that I run on behalf of this organization.
I moved back to the Boston area in 2011, and on one of my first evenings I attended CJP’s Open House Party with a camp friend I had recently reconnected with. There I ran into several people from camp, college and other walks of life. It was amazing to walk into an event in a new city and reconnect with so many amazing people. Shortly after that I participated in LEADS, a program for young Jewish professionals. I met many new wonderful friends in my group and I really started to feel like a part of the community.
In the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel on a CJP-sponsored mission with 39 young leaders from the Boston area. I have been to Israel several times, but this trip was truly special. While exploring the country and our Jewish roots, we also forged lasting friendships that have carried over to our lives in Boston. More recently, I was amazed and humbled by CJP’s contribution to the Boston community following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
Money raised for CJP will provide opportunities for teens and young adults to travel to Israel, attend Jewish overnight camp and form communities so they, too, can grow, learn and develop into proud, inspired adults. Money raised will also help continue to fund reactive efforts to disasters both in our area and beyond.
Have either of you ever run a marathon before? How’s the training going?
Emily: I’m beyond excited to be running my fourth Boston Marathon and my fifth marathon overall. Highlights of my training this year have included avoiding the cold by logging many long runs on the treadmill watching movies, running in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, building strength with runs at higher altitudes in Denver, and a 30K in Hamilton, Ontario, at the oldest road race in North America.
Jessica: I ran the New York City Marathon in 2011. I’m extremely excited to participate in this year’s Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon always has amazing energy, and I think that will only be magnified this year as the event marks one year from the tragedies of last year’s event. Training is going pretty well. I live on the marathon route, and all of my long runs have been on the course with hundreds of other people also training for the marathon. The excitement is palpable, and there’s a sense of community and camaraderie among the runners, which makes the entire experience that much more fun.
Obviously this is going to be a very high-security marathon this year. How is it going to be different for runners like you?
Emily: Security has always been important for the marathon. I saw it firsthand last year when I biked the course at dawn from the finish line to the start; along the entire course was the National Guard doing prep work for the day. The biggest difference I expect this year is even more energy and excitement from the crowds and the runners. It’s an incredible honor to be part of Team CJP and to be running to bring awareness of the amazing work we do every day in Boston and in Israel.
Jessica: The Boston Athletic Association has issued new rules that prohibit runners from having certain items and wearing some types of costumes along the route. I honestly do not think I will be all that affected by it. While running my mind will be focused on making it to the finish line!
The marathon falls during Passover this year. How are you guys going to carb up?!
Emily: Passover is the genesis of freedom; you can’t persecute the inner me. It’s incredibly fitting to be running the Boston Marathon during Passover, because Patriot’s Day celebrates free societies and shows that we are inherently stronger and more resilient than those who attack us. It may not be 40 years in the desert, but the long march from Hopkinton to Boston toward the finish line is pointed toward freedom and is a reminder that no regime can take away our identity.
Jessica: Matzah pizza!
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!
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