On Wednesday, March 16, a dedicated group of 10 HANC High School students traveled to Israel to participate in the Jerusalem Marathon.

Shalva, an organization for special needs children in Israel, has a team in the Jerusalem Marathon, and this year, the amazing group of motivated HANC students, chaperoned by Director of Student Life Rabbi Daniel Mezei and his wife Penina, raised over 34K for Shalva.

The team arrived in Israel on Thursday afternoon. After an interesting tour of the Shalva Center, the team headed to the hotel, followed by a meaningful visit to the Kotel. After a good night’s sleep, the students were excited for marathon day and had the opportunity to choose between the half marathon, 5k, or the 10km race.

After a long and exhausting run, the students enjoyed a victory party and then went off to Machane Yehuda for some Erev Shabbat shopping. The students spent a restful and memorable Shabbat in a hotel in Bayit Vegan. One of the highlights of their Shabbat was sharing the hotel space with the Paley family, who were celebrating a shalom zachor for their newly-born son just a few short weeks after losing two young children to a terrorist car-ramming at a bus stop in Yerushalayim. The HANC students spoke, sang, and danced, bringing joy and nechamah to a family so in need of consolation.

On Sundaym the students went on a whirlwind tour including; vatikin at the Kotel, jeeping in Midbar Yehuda, and a visit to the kever of Harav Ovadya Yosef. They then went on to the Gush, where they viewed a moving multimedia presentation in Gush Etzyon depicting the story of the heroic men and women who gave their lives to protect the communities of the Etzion Bloc. For the last leg of the trip, the HANC team davened at Kever Rachel and had dinner at Mifgash Ha’esh, where the students shared divrei Torah and inspirational thoughts about their Israel/Shalva experience.

While the lives of the Shalva children have been enriched by HANCs financial support, HANC’s students have been equally enriched through this meaningful experience.