I’ve been running for 40 years, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting runs. Like most Israelis, I began my running career while training for army service. Since I was applying for the elite Shayetet-13 unit (Israel’s equivalent to the Navy Seals), I used to go with my friend Zvika Goldstein and run on the beaches of Tel Aviv throughout the winter of 1977. After running, we used to go in the water and swim a bit to get used to the cold water. Zvika was a good runner. I was always behind. On runs during IDF basic training with the Paratroopers and then in Navy training, when everyone else had finished a run, they’d say, “Let’s wait for Greenfield. Don’t worry, he’ll get here sooner or later. He’s stubborn.” Zvika completed the course and I did not.
Next, while I spent two years in California following my three-year term in the IDF, my late brother, Dror, and I were involved in Zionist activity on campuses in Southern California and in the community. So my next run was the Run for Soviet Jewry. There was a 5K and a 10K. I joined Eva Beim and David Kabaker for the 5K. When we rounded the turn that ended the 5K, I continued on the course for the 10K. The T-shirt we had been given said “10K for Soviet Jewry.” How could I wear the shirt if I only ran 5K?
My next run was the 1982 Walk for Israel, where my brother and I ran 18K. At the start of the run, a beautiful woman came over wanting a photo with us two young men who were part of TELEM, a Zionist organization that was one of the walk organizers.
This beautiful woman turned out to be Jane Fonda.
Upon my return to Israel, I saw an ad for the Galilee Half-Marathon and decided to join. I completed my first half-marathon and from there, it picked up to dozens of half-marathons and some 15 full marathons, including the Dead Sea Half Marathon during the corona pandemic. In the past few years, my wife, Caryn, joined me in running and runs up to 10K.
A few weeks ago, a post on Facebook caught my eye. Koby Gatenio posted that he wanted to use his running for a good cause and was founding the Moadon Hamilion (the Million Club). His idea was to gather a hundred marathon runners who would run the Jerusalem Marathon, and each commits to doing their best to raise NIS 10,000, for a total of NIS 1,000,000 to be split evenly between two very worthy organizations:
Shanti House provides a warm and loving home to youth at risk, enabling them to overcome their difficulties and get back on track in their lives and in society.
No Soldier Left Behind is an organization founded by several soldiers suffering from PTSD in order to assist all those with PTSD and their families.
I loved it. I gave him a call, and we started working.
After just one week, we have over 100 runners registered. We have already passed the NIS 140,000 mark and are going strong.
As I turned 63 this year, I have set my goal for raising funds at NIS 63,000.
Together with more than 110 other runners, we will run in the Jerusalem Marathon on March 25. Our goal is to raise NIS 1,000,000 for the two organizations described above. You are invited to join us in our effort to raise a million shekels for these two incredible organizations. Please click this link and donate. https://www.jgive.com/new/he/ils/donation-targets/68267 All contributions are tax-deductible.
And I will do my best to complete the full Jerusalem Winner Marathon. ■
The writer is owner of Gefen Publishing in Jerusalem.