American to run length of Israel to benefit youth

Marc Hendel is to begin a nine-day run down the length of Israel to raise money for disadvantaged teenagers.

Marc Hendel 370 (photo credit: Sarah Foreman   )
Marc Hendel 370
(photo credit: Sarah Foreman )
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 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 said.
“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 Post.
“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 program.”
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.