Sunday, March 19, 2017

Running the Jerusalem Marathon


(From Left: Marissa Belifonte, Lauren Buchman, Stephanie Blitstein, Eliana Shwartzendruber)

This Friday I was privileged to run/ walk/ dance the 10k at the Jerusalem Marathon! I cannot even describe how incredible it was to run through the holy city of Jerusalem (including the Old City) and be a part of thousands of participants from around the world (and hundreds of athletes who flew in, to challenge themselves on the Jerusalem hills) who ran in memory of loved ones or supporting different charities, for special needs groups, etc. 

Several of the Mayanot Women ran with me for One Family and fellow students ran for other amazing organizations that they care deeply about. It was truly a surreal and beautiful experience. 

I ran in support of One Family, in awe of the incredible work they do for victims of terror, and the warm, inviting environment they create for these individuals. A few weeks ago I had the honor of hearing from one victim herself, who witnessed her mother, Dafna Meir z"l, being stabbed to death in their own kitchen by a 15-year-old Palestinian boy. She was the one who protected her siblings from the horrific image of their mother on the floor that would haunt them forever, she is the one who was brave enough to call her father in a calm voice in order to get him home safely, and she was the one left with a gaping emptiness in her life. 

Dafna Meir z"l was well known by her community, not only as the most caring wife, mother of 6, and nurse, but as a generous individual who lit up the world around her. Her daughter stood before me and my classmates courageously explaining her story for us so we could get a glimpse of her heart-wrenching experience. This very night she was also glowing in the light of her recent engagement. She told us her life would never be the same, she told us it still hurts everyday, but she also told us that despite all this, she still believes in G-d, and that she believes that is what helps her to continue on, knowing she is not alone. She also told us what One Family was for her: A place where she feels comfortable amongst others who understand her pain, her situation, and her needs. A community, or rather a family, where she can be herself, and help others like her at the same time. 

I decided to run in memory of Dafna Meir, Z"L. The support we saw from spectators along the way was amazing! Tons of people seeing our red shirts and cheering on the one Family team. I encourage you to read more about this inspiring organization Just click on the link. 

With gratitude, Lauren Buchman
Current Mayanot Women's Program Student