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Team Yachad Jerusalem runners from Hartman High School.
Ya’acov Braun is in the front row, fifth from right.

Of the estimated 25,000 runners expected to participate in this year’s Fourth Jerusalem Marathon on Friday March 21, about 6,000 are running for one of a variety of special causes.250 runners in this group will be wearing bright orange Team Yachad Jerusalem t-shirts.

Yachad/ National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), is an agency of the Orthodox Union in the US. It is dedicated to addressing the needs of all individuals with disabilities and including them in the Jewish community.

Yachad made aliyah about 18 months ago. This is the third Jerusalem Marathon they are participating in.

According to Yachad Israel Co-Director Yoel Sterman, Team Yachad Jerusalem will raise about $120,000 this year.

Among the Team Yachad Jerusalem participants there is a group of 12th graders from the Hartman Boy’s High School.

The idea of the group started with Ya’acov Braun (front row, fifth from right) who also ran in the 2013 Jerusalem Marathon.

Braun, who has Down’s syndrome, is very much a part of his class. And 18 of his classmates decided to support him and Yachad Israel by raising money and running in the marathon with him this year.

“I wanted to run in the marathon with friends,” said Moshe Aharon. “By running for Yachad – and with Ya’acov – we‘re making a serious contribution.”

Shai Kehat, another of the runners is Ya’acov’s cousin. He ran with Ya’acov last year. “Ya’acov was so excited that instead of just running 5 kms as planned, he ran 10 kms.”

Running in the Jerusalem Marathon with Ya’acov is “doing something that is both special and important,” says Gavriel Shukrun.

How does Ya’acov feel about being the center of attention? “I’m happy that my friends want to run with me,” he says. “I’ll run as much as I can this year.”

And in the meantime his classmates are raising money for Yachad Israel. Ten days before the race they had raised about $4,500 of their $7,000 goal.

Help them help Yachad Israel. You can still donate using the Secure Server.

Come see the Jerusalem Marathon on Friday March 21.

Look for Team Yachad Jerusalem runners in their bright orange t-shirts and blue Team Yachad capes.