The senior staff of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israelis investing heavily in sneakers this week. They’re preparing for a Sunday 5K run through the streets of South Orange which will raise money to plant trees both in Israel and here in town.
Rabbi Ellie Miller explains the idea of a congregation-wide race was born when Rabbi Dan Cohen began using a “couch to 5K” application on his phone. His goal was fitness by way of running, so the entire staff of TSTI signed on to run with him.
“We figured we would all do a 5K somewhere together in the community sometime in the fall,” recalls Cohen. “What we discovered was that many of our congregants wanted to join us so we decided to create our own 5K. We chose to run for the environment this year since we are part of the Greenfaith certification program and the environment is a focus for the year. We also decided to plant trees both in Israel and at home to show our commitment to both communities.”
She further notes that this race is “run, walk and roll” to allow everyone to participate, regardless of speed, experience or mobility.
The senior staff have made them accountable to the congregation; they have updated the website to reflect their progress over the last several week of training. They have also grown to know one another ever better; a feature on the site called “Guess the Playlist,” asks TSTI folks to match the musical favorites to the staff member. (Is the senior rabbi running to MC Hammer or Lady Gaga? And who’s cranking Foo Fighters?)
The race route takes runners through the Montrose neighborhood. The course is fairly flat, except for the Turrell Avenue hill. “We expect that this will be a multi-generational healthy mitzvah,” says Cohen. “We are very pleased that we will be walking, running and rolling on the streets of South Orange and, of course, starting and ending at Temple.”