Feb 24, 2005 — Avishai (Isaac) Chelst, a Southfield, MI, native and senior at The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy – Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MSTA) in New York City, was one of 236 students nationwide to be named a Distinguished Finalist of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for his community service project Aliyat Regel, an eight-week exercise program.
Through Aliyat Regel, 60 students at MSTA walked 5,700 miles – the distance between New York and Jerusalem – around Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus in upper Manhattan from October to the end of January. Mr. Chelst recorded miles walked by each participant, and a local travel agency donated a voucher toward a free airline trip to Jerusalem to the student who logged the most miles.
Concerned about his own fitness, Mr. Chelst initiated the exercise program to also encourage his classmates to exercise. The name Aliyat Regel alludes to the Biblical commandment for Jews to travel to Jerusalem on the holidays of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkoth.
“It feels great to be recognized for Aliyat Regel,” Mr. Chelst, 17, said. “It’s also nice to see the project recognized for motivating students to walk for their own health.”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a nationwide program honoring young people for acts of volunteerism. In its 10th year, the awards program is conducted by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).