Last month, Mary Alderman traveled to Israel for the eighth time, one of 24 participants on the Israel Tennis Center’s 5-Star Israel Experience.
The ITC is a nonprofit organization that since 1976 has been helping children and teens living in poverty, new immigrants, at-risk youth and those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Its coexistence program teaches self-esteem, tolerance and acceptance through the discipline of tennis. Starting from age 3, Jewish and Arab kids develop life skills in a safe place where they can learn to play and live together, fostering a great opportunity for peace in the Middle East. They cooperate as partners, not opponents, on the tennis court. The 14 tennis centers, representing the largest tennis school in the world, stretch from Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border to Beer Sheva in the Negev and serve over 21,500 children annually — over 400,000 to date.
Last year, Alderman, a retired middle school social studies teacher from upstate New York who moved to Tucson in 2010 and is a tennis player herself, chose to sponsor a child, Idan Sinai, now age 12, at the Jerusalem Tennis Center. When Idan learned of Mary’s sponsorship through the ITC Foundation, he wrote a heartfelt letter of gratitude.
Dear Mary Alderman,
I wanted to thank you for giving money to the tennis center to sponsor me so that I can go there almost every day to play tennis. Without your donation I wouldn’t be able to do that, because my family can’t afford it. I go to the tennis center every day, even when I don’t practice. On the days I don’t practice, I help my coach with the younger children. That way I feel like I am giving something back to the tennis center.
Thank you again. I hope there are a lot of good people in the world like you.
With love, Idan Sinai
As part of their nine-day itinerary, this special tour group was privileged to meet with Knesset Member Yitzhak “Buji” Herzog at the Yitzhak Rabin Youth Hostel; retired Colonel Danny Tirza, the architect of the security fence between the West Bank and Israel, at the fence in Jerusalem; Israel Museum Director James Snyder, who led a private tour of the current exhibit, Herod the Great; Middle East expert Avi Melamed, who gave the background on Israel’s southern border status with the Gaza Strip while standing in view of Gaza, not far from Sderot; military personnel in the control tower at Ramon Air Force Base, Israel’s Southern Command; U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro; and Harel Levy, former Israeli tennis pro and current ITC professional director, at Ramat Hasharon, ITC’s home campus. One of the six original ITC founding members, Dr. William Lippy of Ohio, was part of the tour group. Mary was the only Arizonan.
Mary extended her stay after the mission and was an invited guest for Shabbat dinner at the home of ITC CEO Danny Gelley. We salute Mary, our Tucson ambassador of this humanitarian program.
Running in the Big Apple
On Sunday, Nov. 3, Cathy Lenox and her son, Jared Bowen, ran in the 2013 ING New York City Marathon. They met in the Big Apple to compete but also to celebrate milestone birthdays — her 65th and his 40th. Joining them were Cathy’s husband, Jim Lenox, her daughter, Shauna Bowen and granddaughter Jordan, daughter-in-law, Jennifer Bowen and grandson Kaden. Jared grew up in Tucson, attended Sahuaro High School and Northern Arizona University, and is currently living in Bangkok as CIO of Minor International.
Cathy, a runner for 13 years, has participated in half-marathons in Vancouver, B.C.; Bentonville, Ark., San Diego and Tucson. This was her second New York marathon. She gained entry through fundraising in 2009 and a lottery this year.
The 26.2-mile course covers the five boroughs, beginning in Staten Island and ending in Manhattan’s Central Park. In 2009, Cathy finished the race route. This year, she ran a “peppy” race for the first 13 miles, felt some discomfort, walked the “never-ending” Queensboro Bridge until mile 16, then between the cold and wind, decided to take the shuttle to the finish line. Jared completed the race with a finish time of 3 hours, 53 minutes.
Cathy’s final race impressions: “Spectators at the race were incredible. Gotta love the spirit of New Yorkers.”
Making a visible difference
National Make a Difference Day was Oct. 26. Hadassah Southern Arizona made a difference a week later, on Nov. 3, when it helped clean up the environment as part of Pima County’s Adopt-a-Roadway program. A team of 11 volunteers met at the north end of the Tucson Jewish Community Center parking lot for a quick briefing and route assignments. From 9 to 11 a.m., from River Road at Alvernon Way to Swan Road, the crew picked up litter, making a noticeable difference. Participating in this twice-a-year project were Raquel Arriola, Elinor Englehard, Corinne Forti, Margo Gray, Mike Jacobson (Adopt-A-Roadway chair), Brad Litin, Cathy Olswing, Geri Rosen, Karen Skolnik, and Ginger and Michelle Waldstein.
Time to share
Happy upcoming Chanukah/Thanksgiving. Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.