Marc Hendel recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis where he studied mathematics and history. He has brought his love of running and love of children to Israel. In Karmiel, Marc taught English in an elementary school and established a running club to bring together people from diverse backgrounds. In Netivot, he volunteered as a mentor at Youth Futures, established the Run Together for Netivot 5K, enjoyed the occasional pickup soccer game with kids from Ethiopian Cultural Center, and ate couscous at least three times a week. He plans to intern in Jerusalem at Hand in Hand, a joint Arab-Jewish school. After OTZMA, he will begin law school with his eyes on a career in public service. He envisioned this run as a way to test his limits while combining his passion for helping children, running, and Israel.
Elyssa is a strong, independent, make-it-happen kind of girl. After spending most of her life as a gymnast, she switched to running and then to triathlons. She loves long runs, baking cookies and attempting to speak Hebrew with Israeli kids (when they aren’t laughing at her). From the first pretend trip to Israel with her first grade class to the Birthright trips she staffed she always knew that she wanted to spend an extended amount of time in Israel. Elyssa grew up in Fayetteville, NY and is a graduate of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Media Arts and Design and a concentration in Broadcast Journalism in 2009, she worked in Advertising and Social Media before leaving work to finally make her dream of spending a year in Israel a reality.
Toby began running in high school running cross country and track and field. Through cross training Toby developed a love for triathlon in which he competed for five years ranking in the top of the Northeast Region. Through triathlon Toby found a new love for cycling. Besides competing as a Category 5 cyclist and winning many races, Toby also enjoys cycle touring. His most memorable ride was from Niagara Falls to New York City in the Spring of 2011.
Rachel Frank is a recent college graduate, from American University in Washington, D.C. and a recent transport to Israel. She found herself here looking for a way to be abroad and use her newly earned degree in sociology and international relations. She is an avid, and quite talented speed walker who recently journeyed into the world of running. She ran in her first ever 5k and didn’t die despite her very serious beliefs that she wouldn’t make it. Road trips, enthusiasm and raising money for kids and organizations that really deserve it are some of her favorite things. She looks forward to cheering Marc on and encouraging him to just keep running. Chants of ‘run Marc run!’ are sure to be plentiful.
Hannah Braunstein is excited to see Israel through new eyes while helping Marc complete the run.
Neta is Marc’s Israeli liason, helping reach out to Israeli companies and spearheading logistics. She also happens to be one of the best runners in Northern Israel!