In its second year, the NYRR Celebrate Israel Run took thousands of participants on a four-mile symbolic journey through Israel, from Eilat to Tel Aviv. After the run, finishers and their friends and families got festive with yummy Israeli snacks and lively music.
For Jennifer Kenter and Nicole Savage, running and celebrating Israel are uniquely linked. Their Upper West Side temple, Congregation Habonim, has a running club that comes together for Saturday afternoon long runs in Central Park after morning services. Today, five members of the club took the opportunity to don dreidel costumes and show their spirit at the NYRR Celebrate Israel Run Presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Said Kenter, "We thought this was a really fun way to come out and support NYRR and Israel."
Added Savage, "This is the first year we've done this race. It's 'Celebrate Israel' so why not dress up?"
The race's 5,136 finishers included about 30 from the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester who were led by their Rabbi in Residence (and Jerusalem Half Marathon finisher) Harry Pell.
"It's about supporting Israel in any way that you can," Pell said. "We have people that are excited about the parade, people involved in all kinds of advocacy, people who travel all the time and people who want to run, so if there's a race we're going to be in it."
After the race, finishers and their families munched on tasty Israeli snacks and danced to the music of the Ta Shma Orchestra. The festivities featured a raffle drawing that included a grand prize of a trip to Israel, courtesy of EL AL Airlines. It was a celebration that showcased the famous spirit -- ruach! -- that characterizes the nation of Israel and runners everywhere.