On Tuesday Marc Hendel, an American Jew, will begin a nine-day run down the
length of Israel, from Rosh Hanikra in the north to Eilat in the south, to raise
money for disadvantaged youth.
He is also running to “raise awareness
both overseas and in Israel of the importance of the connection between the Jews
in the US and Israel,” Hendel said.
During the 470-kilometer journey, the
recent Washington University graduate will be joined by several friends he made
volunteering on the Otzma Jewish Federations of North America program, through
which he taught English in Karmiel and worked with children in Netivot, near the
Gaza border – which is twinned with the Jewish Federation of Greater
Philadelphia through the Jewish Agency’s Partnership2gether program.
Otzma is one of the volunteer programs within Masa Israel,
a joint project of the government of Israel and The Jewish Agency for Israel
that raises money for the Jewish Agency’s Youth Futures program, which empowers
thousands of socio-economically challenged youth; and for the Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Eastern Missouri program.
Once he reaches Petah Tikva, Hendel
told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, he will be joined by four of his friends.
Their No. 1 role will be “blogging and tweeting” his run, he
“I was on the train and reading a book about someone who ran across
the United States 30 years ago to raise money for charity,” he told the
“I thought, I’m a runner; I love running; I love the kids of
Israel; what better way to combine those things than running across the country,
raising money for children’s organizations and raising awareness about the
partnerships between American cities and Israeli cities?” Hendel said he
believes it is important to promote twinning programs like those of Netivot and
Philadelphia because the “the partnership cities help to enable individuals from
one town to get to know individuals from another, better than any
The runner and his friends will be blogging on a website set up
for the run through which Hendel has been raising money from sponsors.