Bethia Gindi is a junior at YULA High School in Los Angeles, and a member of Team Yachad who ran at the Miami ING Half-Marathon last weekend. She sent a personal reflection on the race to Yachad:
I feel I have done many amazing things in my life. I have been to Africa and I have seen the sun rise over the Sahara. I have been to Venice, and I have seen the setting sun over the canals. I watched my family grow closer together after my grandfather passed away. I went on a cruise to Alaska and I saw the icebergs before they melted. I went on the NCSY GIVE summer program two summers ago and volunteered all over Israel; I went on Yachad’s Yad b’Yad trip this past summer and spent my entire summer becoming friends with Yachad members. I am on the Yachad board in Los Angeles and I have seen many people grow through Yachad and its programming.
But I have never done anything like the half-marathon. There is something about waking up at 3:30 in the morning and driving to the race after an amazingly inspirational Shabbat, after months and months of training and fundraising. There is something about running for something that you love, something that inspires you, something that has given you more than you could have ever hoped for. Yachad has changed my life in so many ways, I cannot even count, and this marathon was an amazing way for me to give back.
First the fundraising, which was really hard — I mean it is $3,000! But after a while it became fun, because I got to tell people about the organization I love so much. And then the training, which was brutal! I am not an athletic person, and I do not run. But I trained, not completely following the training schedule, but I did the best I could, and you know what? I made it.
And finally the marathon itself! It was unbelievable that I was running with over 20,000 people, and it was unbelievable that 135 of them were with Yachad. Crossing the finish line was the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced! I had just run 13.1 miles, and yet, crossing that finish line, I was not tired because I knew that I had done something amazing for Yachad! Of course, the tired and the sore set in after, but it was totally worth it, and I would not trade this experience for anything!
Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) is an agency of the Orthodox Union that provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities.