Bar mitzva boy to run triathlon for terror victims

Josh, whose family made aliya from London last July, to give all Bar Mitzvah money to One Family group.

wife terror attack 224.8 (photo credit: )
wife terror attack 224.8
(photo credit: )
While most boys prepare for their bar mitzva by learning a Torah portion or composing a speech, Josh Djanogly will commemorate his coming-of-age by running a triathlon. Josh, whose family made aliya from London last July and now lives in Ra'anana, is running the triathlon on Friday to raise money for One Family, a group that helps Israeli victims of terror. He also plans to donate all the money he receives for his bar mitzva to the organization. He got the idea to run the triathlon to raise the money from his older brother, Gadi, who ran a 10-kilometer race to benefit One Family at the time of his own bar mitzva three years ago. "I felt that the money was needed for other people," said Josh. The Djanoglys' connection with One Family began while they were living in London. They would host victims of terror for several days each, during which time they learned about the experience of losing someone to an attack, and the accompanying grief. "If somebody loses someone that's close to them, it's not a wound that goes away," said Avi Djanogly, Josh's father. "To try and move on is very difficult. By supporting One Family and what they do, whether it provides medical aid or [helps] a girl to recover, these are things you can do that are ongoing." Josh added that the personal relationships he formed with the victims inspired him to contribute to One Family. "[The experience] told me that there are people in the world that need things a lot more than I do," he said. "It made me understand that we aren't the most important people. It inspired me because they are very nice people who had an unfortunate experience." While he plays football, tennis and american football with his friends after school, Josh said that training for the triathlon over the past four months had been tough. Even so, he is excited about competing. "The last month I've been training very hard," said Josh. "Training's been great. I'm very determined to do it." What makes this triathlon different from others is that Josh will be competing alongside his dog, Cassie, who also ran the 10km with Gadi in London. Josh said that having his dog with him inspires him to work harder. "She's a very fit runner, and its nice for people to know that there's a dog around," said Josh. "She's faster than all of us. She pushes us." The Djanogly family is having a good experience so far after moving to Israel, and Avi says that their time here has made their awareness of the effects of terror more acute. "We feel far more part of the country now," he said. "You look around Israel and you're surrounded by [terror's aftereffects] all the time. In London you go home and get on with your life. It's become much more a daily factor in our lives." Josh also enjoys living in Israel, and has invited several of the family's former guests from One Family to his bar mitzva. "I was quite happy to make aliya," he said. "It's been great so far. I've got a good group of friends and I can walk on a Shabbat night without worrying about anything." In addition to running the triathlon, Josh will be having a traditional bar mitzva ceremony in which he will read Torah. Avi said that the triathlon and Josh's donation to One Family reflect the Djanoglys' emphasis on the interpersonal aspect of Jewish values. "It could have been any of us that this could have happened to," said Avi of the terror attacks. "Because it was someone else, that doesn't mean that you have no responsibility. To me that's the more important than the praying. For us it's more important to love our fellow Jews."