This isn’t your typical end of the summer “welcome back”, pre-High Holy Day bulletin article. Then again, what we have planned for October isn’t your typical temple function. Let us explain.
Rabbi Nachman’s Prayer
Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone.
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses,
Among all growing things,
There to be alone and enter into prayer.
There may I express all that is in my heart,
Talking with God to whom I belong.
And may all grasses, trees and plants
Awake at my coming.
Send the power of their life into my prayer,
Making whole my heart and my speech through the life and spirit of growing things,
Made whole by their transcendent Source.
Oh! That they would enter my prayer!
Then would I fully open my heart in prayer, supplication and holy speech;
Then, O God, would I pour out the words of my heart before Your Presence
It’s funny how things can take on a life of their own. Back in the spring my friend Larry Greenberg realized that he had let himself get out of shape. He has run a number of marathons and decided to get running again. Because he is an avid technology fan he decided to use an iPhone app “C25K” which is based on Cool Running’s Couch-to-5K Running Plan to help him along. C25K is designed to get someone who hasn’t been running at all up, running and, a few months later, able to run in a 5 km race. Of course, I opened my mouth and said that I wanted to do it too. I hadn’t run in years but my physician had been telling me I needed to start exercising so before you knew it I had the app on my iPhone and had started running (well walking at first actually).
As things tend to happen in Temple life, especially here at TSTI, the idea took on a life of its own. Rabbi Miller suggested that we do a larger synagogue run and invite everyone in the temple family to join in. The timing couldn’t be better. Right after the Holy Days is a wonderful time for us to gather together as an extended temple family. Moreover, because we are part of the URJ and GreenFaith’s Greening Initiative, getting out into nature seems to be a perfect fit.
I told Rabbi Miller what I was doing and she, in turn, joined in. Before I knew it the entire senior staff of the synagogue had agreed to participate in some form or another.
(Quick aside, on a recent conference call with GreenFaith I learned that we now spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. Source: epa.gov via Rabbi Larry Troster) It seemed like something we should do and… it is something we are doing. But I’ll let Rabbi Miller pick it up from here.
This was one of those times when, even as the words were leaving my mouth I realized I should have kept quiet. But once I said I was in… I was in. I knew I needed to start training right away. Yes, peer pressure can be a positive thing sometimes. (As a quick aside, Rabbi Cohen emailed from his vacation saying that he was ready to quit but didn’t “because he wasn’t going to let me keep going while he stopped.” I emailed back that I had thought the exact same thing that morning.)
Couch25k is a 9 week training program. During my first 7 weeks of training (at week one mind you) I told everyone I know that I was doing this program. Many people said that it sounded great and asked how to get the program so that they could train too. That gave me an idea . . . Why not invite everyone in the congregation to join in. We’ll have fun together, get outside together, and even better, we can turn it into a mitzvah and raise some money for a good environmental cause or two.
And so Team TSTI was born.
The race, or more accurately run/walk, will be held on a Sunday in October. (The official date will be on the temple Web site as soon as it is approved by the town.)
The registration will be $18 for anyone under 18 and $36 for anyone over 18. That will include a t-shirt, a water bottle (as part of the Greening Initiative we can’t exactly give out plastic bottled water can we??) and some prizes that will be raffled off to a few of the people who have completed the 5K in any form.
In addition, we are going to invite anyone who is participating to get sponsors for each of the five kilometers. Half of the proceeds will go toward planting trees in Israel through the Jewish National Fund and the other half will go toward planting trees and flowers here at home. This is, of course, optional but we invite all walk/runners of the 5K to do so.
We hope that everyone will join us. You don’t have to run the 5 km (3.2 miles). You can run, walk, or roll. Just join us. Our heartfelt thanks to Debbie Bernstein for helping to organize this event.
On a final note, this experience has given me the chance to see the “unRabbinic side” of Rabbi Cohen even more clearly than ever… he has completed the C25K (and has started Couch to 10K) and on each of the last three runs he taunted me by sending me his stats.
We are proud to serve as rabbis of a congregation that would pursue an initiative such as this and look forward to all of you joining with us for Team TSTI’s first ever 5K.
Here is a bonus… if you plan to join us and have either an iPhone or iPod touch…
I (Rabbi Cohen) was emailing with the developer of the C25K iPhone app. They loved the fact that we are doing a TSTI 5K and sent me promotional codes for 10 copies of the app (and invited me to write up our story for their website [which I will happily be doing]). If you will be joining us for Team TSTI and would like a copy of the app email me and I’ll get one of the ten codes to you if any are left.