ADI’s ‘Sea of Green’ shines light of disability inclusion on Jerusalem Marathon

More than 300-strong, the “ADI Fleet” running team raises awareness and more than $37,000 to empower residents with severe disabilities.

Staff and volunteers help more than 40 ADI residents navigate the 800-meter communities track at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.
Staff and volunteers help more than 40 ADI residents navigate the 800-meter communities track at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.

After a week of wet and gloomy winter weather, the skies cleared over Israel’s capital, and ADI, Israel’s network of specialized rehabilitative care for those touched by and living with disability, brought the sunshine to the 12th-annual Jerusalem Marathon. With hundreds of runners of all levels of ability, the “ADI Fleet” inclusive running team was everywhere all at once, promoting the advancement of the most vulnerable members of Israeli society and highlighting the importance of disability inclusion, equity and access.

Sporting luminescent-green running shirts and even brighter smiles, ADI staff members, volunteers and supporters tore up the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon tracks, while more than three dozen ADI Jerusalem residents—young women and men who were never expected to walk—pounded the pavement on the 800-meter communities track, pushing their limits in specially-made walkers to show that disability doesn’t mean inability.

With the help of a specially-made walker and cheering staff and volunteers, an ADI resident walks the red carpet after completing the 800-meter communities track at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.

“Without question, the Jerusalem Marathon is one of the high points of our year. Our ADI residents always receive such a warm welcome from city officials, event organizers and the thousands of participants; this acceptance moves their families to tears while also moving our society forward by leaps and bounds,” said Shlomit Grayevsky, director of ADI Jerusalem.

“It’s a very special experience to see people gather in Jerusalem from across the country and around world, and incredibly heartening when they stop to cheer us on. I am so proud of our ADI family—this beautiful sea of green—for leading the charge for true inclusion. It’s clear to me that our hard work is paying off, and that we are making a difference and promoting real change,” she said.

More than 200 young women and men from Israel, North America and Europe joined the “ADI Fleet” running team to tackle the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon tracks to promote disability inclusion at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.

The “ADI Fleet” running team’s “sea of green” was comprised of more than 300 staff members, volunteers, ADI residents and special-education students, and their families. Also on the team were gap-year students, including those participating in programs such as Torah Tech, Mechinat Ruach HaNegev, Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, Midreshet HaRovah, Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya, Amudim, Aish Gesher for Women, Midreshet Torah v’Avodah (MTVA) and the Jean Schottenstein Oryah Institute. Having developed a deep connection with the ADI family throughout the year, these fleet-footed ambassadors jumped at the chance to run with and for them in the Jerusalem Marathon.

By race day, these young leaders raised more than $37,000 to empower ADI residents and special-education students by providing them with the tools, treatments and therapies needed for greater mobility.

A volunteer sprints the 800-meter communities track with an ADI resident at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.

“When I visited ADI with my school earlier this year, I was blown away. We sang and danced with the residents and special education students, and it was an atmosphere that I absolutely loved. It was so calm and loving, and I couldn’t believe how many different types of therapies were provided. I knew that I had to learn more about ADI and get involved,” said Talia Namvar, a Los Angeles native spending her gap year at MTVA.

She added that “when I heard that I could actually run with ADI, I was so excited! It was so meaningful running with ADI, and I was thrilled to be able to support this amazing organization and contribute to what they are doing in some small way. I could not have asked for a better running team for my first Jerusalem Marathon.”

ADI provides its residents and special education students with the individualized growth plans and specialized services they need to grow and thrive; its rehabilitation patients with the treatments and therapies they need to heal and return to their lives; and the community at large with tangible opportunities for encountering disability, raising awareness and promoting acceptance.

For hundreds of North American students, the highlight of their gap year was experiencing true inclusion with the running team at the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, 2023. Credit: ADI.
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ADI (pronounced ah-dee) is the Hebrew word for a radiant and multifaceted jewel, a name that reflects our expansive vision and broad scope of activities, including disability care, rehabilitation, research, employment, education, community services and tikkun olam. It also speaks to the importance and great value of our mission to care for the most precious members of our society—those who cannot care for themselves. Understanding that all individuals deserve the best available care and every possible opportunity to reach their greatest potential, ADI provides comprehensive rehabilitative solutions for children, adolescents and adults with severe disabilities and complex medical conditions and pioneers cutting-edge therapeutic and recovery services for anyone touched by disability, all in a dignified, warm and loving atmosphere.
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