Walking as Tzedakah

Post by Melissa

Last week I walked a half marathon. You may now be asking, what does this have to do with Judaism or the topics normally addressed on this blog – well, just hold on a moment, and I’ll get to that. Participating in the event was a phenomenal experience, and it was a beautiful day in Colorado – which always helps.  Plus, it was for a great cause!

I joined a group of twenty-five runners, walkers, and people up for an adventure to participate in our local marathon.  Twenty people were part of relay teams to complete the marathon, and five brave souls completed the half marathon.  We were part of over 8,000 participants who were specifically completing the race for a charity partner.

My charity partner was (and remains) Camp Ramah in the Rockies.  Ramah in the Rockies is the first specialty camp of the Ramah camping movement, the camping arm of the Conservative movement.  Ramah in the Rockies is the home site for the innovative new Ramah Outdoor Adventure program, which combines outdoor adventure and environmental awareness with Jewish living and learning. Ramah in the Rockies will be opening this summer in the ever beautiful Rocky Mountains.

There is plenty of research that proves that going to camp provides a long list of benefits, including independence, social skills, character, compassion, self esteem, athletic skills, a love of the outdoors, better health, and the list goes on. We have already had over 100 kids sign up for the inaugural summer and we need help to ensure they can all come and have the amazing experiences Ramah in the Rockies is sure to provide.  In addition to the many start-up costs that are involved with opening a new summer camp, Ramah is committed to providing scholarships to help give the amazing experience of summer camp to a broader range of children, and that is what we specifically designated our fundraising to.

Along the route, my good friend and I made sure to thank every volunteer and police officer we came in contact with.  Many thanked us for walking – little did they know, the impact our walking would have on the Jewish youth who dream of a unique summer camp experience and simply cannot pull together the funds to make it happen.  Our team raised over $6,000 for scholarships, which is not a small amount of money to a new camp, with a commitment to make it accessible for anyone who wants to be a part of it.

Being able to do something I love {walking} while supporting something I love {Jewish youth involvement} was beyond words.  Though I have many opportunities to influence my immediate youth community, being able to take a stand and publicly share my support and raise additional support and awareness was a truly phenomenal experience.  I encourage you to find a way to combine things you love to raise awareness for a cause which is close to you. There is little better in life.

{{While the point of this post was not to generate more donations, if you feel so inclined I’ll be happy to give you some options for doing so.}}


One thought on “Walking as Tzedakah

  1. This reminds me very strongly of Rabbi Heschel’s comment (I’m paraphrasing) about “praying with his feet” while walking for civil rights. I think it applies to your situation too!

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