27 Students From Rae Kushner Yeshiva Raise $80,000 For Kids With Special Needs

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A group of Garden State high school students were on their way overseas Tuesday to run in a very special race.

They’re participating in the Jerusalem Half Marathon and raising money for children with special needs, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported.

Lace up, stretch and run — for six months that was the routine for the students from the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School.

These teens weren’t on the track team; they were training to complete the Jerusalem Half Marathon, all while raising money for children with special needs.

“It’s a great experience just to go to Israel and run in the Jerusalem marathon and also getting to raise money for such an incredible cause,” 12th grader Rachailli Hubscher said.

Last year, Rabbi Motti Miller took 11 students to Israel and raised more than $37,000 for Shalva – the association for mentally and physically challenged children in Israel.

“You have to be committed to training, commit to fundraising and getting involved with the organization that we’re supporting,” Rabbi Miller said. “Put that all together, it makes for a truly amazing experience.”

“I felt like I was doing something good, like I was contributing to society, like I was doing something good for somebody else,” 12th grader Rafi Snyder said.

This year, 27 students made the trip and raised more than $80,000.

Each student promised to raise $2,700 to be able to go on the trip. They used email campaigns, social media and even shoveled snow to come up with the cash, Finch reported.

“With all the snow storms we figured why not? We raised each $525,” 12th grader Eli Schwartz said.

“It’s also spreading the awareness and by us shoveling, literally our entire community became aware of Shalva,’ senior Zach Blank added.

As hard as the fundraising was the students said the actual running was harder.

“Running is not easy. It’s a tough mind game,” ninth grader Avi Bendory said.

“I kept pushing myself, but it was hard training,” 12th grader Rachel Zucker added.

“I’m hoping the adrenaline helps me get through the hills and everything, but I’m very nervous for the run,” senior Jeremy Shechter added.

The students were scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon. They were to run the half marathon on Friday.

The students’ airfare and accommodations were privately sponsored, so all the money they raised will go directly to their charity, Finch reported.

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