This installment in our series highlighting our Wednesday Night Enrichment Program, will focus on our Israel Advocacy Chug run by Rabbi Zeev Ben-Shachar of Jerusalem U.

The course provides students with an in-depth understanding of Zionism, Israeli history and the Arab-Israeli conflict. We cover topics including: the War of Independence, the predicament of the refugees, Israel's border disputes and security concerns, and the struggle for peace. By addressing these complex issues head on, students gain the knowledge to effectively articulate an informed position regarding the Land, history and people of Israel. 

The program includes a variety of multimedia educational resources, maps, images and videos, as well as current event discussions that have created a dynamic atmosphere in the class.

Read more: Israel Advocacy with Jerusalem U


By, Tamara Kahn, Current MMY Student 

On Friday morning, March 9, approximately 35,000 people participated in the Jerusalem Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10k, or 5k, and a portion of those people were MMY students. The MMY administration supported the race and encouraged students to run. They allowed organizations to come to present their charities, they hung up posters of encouragement, and they even provided a pre-race pasta party for runners.

The Jerusalem Half-Marathon was the third half-marathon in which I participated, and it was a wholly different experience from my two previous races. I ran both my previous half-marathons in my home state of Florida, one in Miami for Friendship Circle, and one in Ft. Lauderdale for HASC, and this year I was privileged to represent Gift of Life in the run through this holy city that has become my home since August. The terrain in Florida, the flattest state in the United States, does not compare to the vast hills of Yerushalayim. Since the 10k and a 5k options exist here as opposed to in Florida which only has the half-marathon and marathon options, many more people participated in the Jerusalem run than in the Florida runs. However, despite my training over the past several months for this highly anticipated race, during this race, I walked and did not run.

Training for a marathon is no easy feat, but training during a seminary gap year, especially in a seminary as focused and as busy as MMY, is nothing short of difficult. The major challenge to training aside from laziness, was the lack of time. This is our year for learning and growth, and there are always errands to run and places to be. The major struggle I encountered was attempting to balance my training with extra learning and chevruta study, spending time with friends, and fitting in three meals a day. Since I arrived at MMY, I have been motivated to exercise as often as possible, taking advantage of the exercise room downstairs and the running path by Tachana Rishona, which is where I did most of my training. Not only is exercise important to me physically, but mentally, as well; running and exercising allows me to clear my head and relieve any built up stress or tension. Since exercise is so important to me, I was never willing to sacrifice it. But as time went on and my priorities shifted, I had to keep rearranging my schedule to accommodate it, and I realized that my lunch and dinner breaks were too precious. So I began rising extra early to exercise in the mornings, before class began.

About a month before the race, I felt pain in my leg after one of my long runs, and it stalled my training process and inhibited my ability to run. I had reached my 10 mile run on my training schedule and I grew extremely frustrated, but I knew running more with my injury would only make it worse.

Read more: Running Through 3000 Years of History

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