A record 375 runners and walkers competed April 10 in the Ezra Schwartz Memorial Fifth Annual FIT (For Israel Team Hillel) event.
The 5K run/walk and one-mile fun run/walk was held in Buccleuch Park, New Brunswick.
The event, which raised $32,500 to benefit the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement, was renamed this year to honor the memory of Ezra Schwartz, an incoming Rutgers freshman who was murdered by terrorists while delivering food to IDF soldiers in Israel. Ezra’s father, Ari, and brother, Avi, travelled from Sharon, Mass., to be guests of honor. Addressing the gathering, Ari expressed his gratitude to the race’s organizers and participants and told of how Ezra was looking forward to attending Rutgers this year.
Winners of the men’s and women’s division 5K main competition were Marquis Cox of Mount Laurel and Leslie Wassef-Birosik of Highland Park.
Also in the race were youth contingents representing Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick and the Diller Teen Fellows of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
Event cochairs were David Yellin, Jennifer and Richard Bullock, and Barbara and Eliot Spack, all of Edison. The Ezra Schwartz Memorial FIT 5K, which is sanctioned by USA Track & Field NJ, is a NJ Grand Prix 500-point event.
Israeli food and entertainment were also featured.
According to executive director Andrew Getraer, the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement focuses on enhancing student understanding of Israel’s spirit, contributions, and people; it mobilizes students to broaden their understanding of Israel and its people through encounters with visiting Israelis, artists, business people, and academicians.