On September 17, Ari Schwartz, father of terror victim Ezra Schwartz, will run a 21 mile route to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back to the top.
Ezra, 18, was killed in at terrorist shooting at the Alon Shvut Junction in Gush Etzion on November 19, 2015. The run will take place three days before Ezra’s Hebrew birthday.
Ari is running to remember Ezra and to raise money for OneFamily. You can contribute to the campaign at https://secure.onefamilyfund.org/rimrun.
This is a message from Ari Schwartz:
After my original post on April 3rd, 11 people have decided to join my brother Peter and I on our 21 mile adventure to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up to the other side. My parents, Mark and Heni will be driving the support van. The brave souls who will be joining us are: Andrea Wolf, Josh Tenzer, Lauren Stark, Dov Gertzulin, and Naomi Gable from NJ, and Rachel Grant, Stephen Hersh from Long Island and Josh Kosowsky, Sheldon Hanau, David Katz, and Daniel Rosen from Sharon, MA. We are running to remember Ezra and we are running to raise money for OneFamily.
When we arrive at the bottom of the canyon, we will make our way to Boat Beach where, 5 years ago, my family, with my parents, arrived after an 11 mile hike down to the Colorado River. It was the best hike of my life and it was one of the most exciting days that our family has experienced together. We were there at Boat Beach, all together, with so much happiness and excitement. Five years later, we will pause on our run and I will read a thank you letter to Ezra for the 18 years that we had with him. I will leave that letter in the river, maybe it will make its way to Ezra.
Eighteen. In Hebrew, 18 stands for life and that is what this run is about. We are celebrating life. We are celebrating Ezra’s life and that is what One Family is all about, continuing life and helping to keep life happy and meaningful.
This amazing organization takes families who have been torn apart and brings them together with similar families with the goal of helping them have fun together. One Family flies our children to Israel so they can meet other children and together they go on trips, they play sports, they go rock climbing, they do whatever they can to enjoy life together.
Three weeks ago Ruth and I had dinner with the family of Yaakov Don. Yaakov was a wonderful man, Rabbi, teacher, husband and father and was killed in the same attack as Ezra. We discovered that Yaakov was also a Maimonides student, having spent two years in the Boston area. We will forever be connected with the Don family, Sara, Aviad 23, Maor 21, Yedidia 18, and Rachel, 15. We feel comfortable with them and we do feel like we are one family. We were inspired to see Yaakov’s family traveling to Canada and The United States without their dad. They are trying to be adventurous without their leader. That night, we hugged and we cried and we laughed and then we were appreciative that we had each other. This is part of what One Family does, they bring suffering families together.
We believe in One Family’s mission. We have seen the positive effects of an incredible and generous organization. Ruth and I have told many people about what they have done for us and for many others including the Don family, yet many have not heard of One Family. For this reason my fundraising goal is to have as many people as possible be involved in this event.
Ezra was 18, Chai!. We are running three days before his Hebrew birthday, Erev Rosh Hashanah. I want to remember his birthday. His life, not his death. My goal is to have a one-thousand friend drive, I am pushing for 1000 donations of $18. All donations will be used for families that One Family supports. The cost of our trip to the Grand Canyon will be paid for by the participants. Please go to our donation website, and donate. Ask your spouse to donate, ask your children to donate and ask your friends to donate. We want kids and Ezra’s friends to be just as involved as people who can give much more.