NY marathon runners to raise cash for Shoah survivors

The team – many of whom are descendants of Holocaust survivors – expect to raise more than $160,000 for the Manhattan-based charity.

marathon 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
marathon 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – On Sunday, more than 60 people from the New York area, six US states and five countries will run in the 41st New York City Marathon on behalf of The Blue Card – Aiding Destitute Holocaust Survivors.
The team – many of whom are descendants of Holocaust survivors – expect to raise more than $160,000 for the Manhattan-based charity.
Elie Rubinstein, executive director of The Blue Card (www.bluecardfund.org), said on Monday his organization’s cause was one that Jews of all denominations and affiliations could support.
“The issue of destitute Holocaust survivors is something that unifies the Jewish community,” Rubinstein said. “There was no difference in Auschwitz – you were a rabbi or you were an atheist, you ended up in the same place. There are not so many issues in the Jewish community that unify the community.
But helping people who went through so many things in their lives, that’s something everyone can relate to.”
There are an estimated 75,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, with onethird living in poverty. Many suffer from chronic diseases stemming from the deprivation they suffered under the Third Reich. The Blue Card provides financial support to more than 1,900 indigent survivors, who are located by social services organizations when the survivors’ needs exceed what can be provided for on a local level.
Since The Blue Card was founded in Germany in 1934, it has provided more than $18 million to Holocaust survivors. The organization’s overhead expenses are entirely covered by legacy income and investments.
New Yorker Doron Wesly will run on Sunday for the Blue Card team. While he only found out about the team through the New York Road Runners’ association, his personal connection to its goals runs deep.
Forty-eight members of his family were murdered in the Holocaust, including his father’s brother. His father is a past chairman of MAROR, the government fund in the Netherlands set up to compensate and promote Dutch Jewish organizations, and his aunt, who lives in Israel, was a director at Elah, which was founded in 1979 by and for former Dutch residents in Israel. According to Elah’s website, it was “the first organization in Israel to provide psycho-social support to Holocaust survivors.”
Rubinstein hopes that the marathon initiative will not only raise money, but also allow more people to find out about the The Blue Card and locate more survivors in need.
“We have a time-limited mission while survivors are around,” Rubinstein said.
“Raising money is wonderful, but when we raise awareness and identify people who can benefit from this help, that’s equally important.”