A team of 9 MTA students lead by Mr. Yosef Gillers, Assistant Director of Student Activities, spent an incredibly jam-packed extended Shabbos in Jerusalem this past weekend in order to participate in the Jerusalem Marathon, which took place on Friday; it was MTA’s second consecutive year participating in the Marathon. Mr. Gillers and the students ran the half marathon, 10k, or 5k events as part of Team Shalva, an Israeli organization helping families and children with special needs.

After landing  in Israel on Thursday  afternoon, the team went straight to the Har Nof neighborhood for a tour of the 7-story Shalva facility. That night at the pre-race pasta party, families and individuals whose lives have been changed by Shalva spoke to the crowd of over 300 team runners. They were followed by a crowd-raising performance from the Shalva band. On Friday, race day started with a 5amShacharis. The starting gun for the half marathon sounded at 6:45 and members of the MTA team ran the first kilometer together before splitting off at their own individual paces. The race itself is a spectacular event, in which the city of Jerusalem shuts down to allow for the brave runners to flood its streets. “Running through the Jaffa gate into the Old City might be a highlight, but the entire race is amazing,” said Mr. Gillers.

 After a restful Shabbos in the hotel, the team spent leisure time on Sunday rappelling and crawling through the caves of Luzit. The adventure was capped off with Minchah and Maariv at theKotel before the return flight to New York. Overall, the MTA team raised more than $28,000 for this incredible organization. MTA has developed a reputation for its students’ marathon fundraising efforts: this past January, the varsity hockey team raised over $50k for Chai Lifeline by running in the Miami Marathon and last June, in the Race to Save Lives, MTA alumni Alex Goldberg and Aharon Watson – with the help of current MTA students and faculty who participated – raised over $1 million for United Hatzalah of Israel.

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