The following thoughts were penned by Syma Davidovich, the main organizer of the SPP Jerusalem Marathon Team:
Left to right: Nechama Selig, Avital Netzer, Nechama Rausman, Syma Davidovich, Joani Davidovich, Noach Davidovich, Zecharya Davidovich (baby), Gabe Pransky, Chaim Goldberg and Amihai, Chaya Bracha and Anava (baby) Zippor in the background.
I keep wondering how many biblical cubits there are in a 10k? I googled it, but the most promising site asks me to push a button that says “convert me” and I’m just not comfortable with that.
I do not have any athletic goals. I did not participate in this year’s Jerusalem Marathon because I love to exercise, need to break a record, or want to loose weight. The Jerusalem Marathon has options of full, half or 10k routes. I chose to sign up for the 10k, and prepared myself for the worst. I joined SPP team to help raise money and awareness for a cause I believe in. I think its nothing short of incredible that my little family (my husband and I switched off pushing our toddler in the stroller) participated in our first ever marathon and it was in Israel’s capitol.
The Talmud says “one who walks 4 cubits in the Land of Israel is assured of being an heir to The World to Come.” Because of the intrinsic Holiness of the Land of Israel, a person gains spiritual merit by walking here. This is just another one of those great Talmudic passages that make an Oleh like myself walk a little taller…..and keeps a mathematically challenged person like myself, totally flummoxed. (If 4 cubits are aprox 6-8 feet, and there are 5280 feet in a mile, and one mile is 1.609344 kilometers………how many cubits are in a 10k?!? My brain hurts.
The point, for me, was not the 10k. It was the 10k. Let me explain. This year, each participant in the SPP team, had a personal goal to raise 500$. I hoped our team could raise 10,000$. A worthy challenge, as last year’s team managed to raise 1,667$ for SPP’s Marathon participation. This was yet another first for me. I have never fundraised before (unless you count selling girl scout cookies or chocolate bars for my elementary school.) I think the idea of raising money seems difficult at first, but I think what made our team so successful is that we had a core group of people who are passionate about the Shira Pransky Project (and its namesake) and the fundraising somehow took on a life of its own.
When I reached my goal, I felt amazing. When I exceeded my goal I felt even better. And when my teammates did the same, I was thrilled. I am so proud. Proud to be a part of this team, this journey, this nation. Every time the walk got tough- and I tell you, some of those hills can make you want to hail a cab- every time my son declared he wanted “to walk also!” I thought about why I dragged myself (and my family) into this. I did it for the love of a city and state like no other. I did it for Shira. I did it to advocate for rights and education in healthcare. I did it to raise money for the Shira Pransky Project.
The newspapers and internet blogs may all report that Abrham Kabeto Ketler achieved the gold or that Mihiret Anamo Antonios broke records, but it sure feels like The Shira Pransky Project won the Jerusalem Marathon last Friday.