How I Won a Marathon in Israel

Cheating Always Helps, Especially in the Holy Land

Wining Form: Tuvia Tenenbom heads for the finish line.
Isi Tenenbom
Wining Form: Tuvia Tenenbom heads for the finish line.

By Tuvia Tenenbom

Published January 19, 2014, issue of January 24, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

There are two Meccas, one in Saudi Arabia and the other, you’ll never guess, in Israel. The one in Saudi Arabia is for Muslim pilgrims, the one in Israel is for journalists. There are more journalists in this little part of the world than cats.

And, believe you me, there is no place on the planet with so many cats as Israel. In plainer terms, to give you a better picture, for the most part Israel is inhabited by cats and journalists. Everywhere you go you see one of them, and usually one standing in the way of the other.

This reality, obviously, makes Israel a good place to study journalism. Here, you see the craft of journalism taking shape.

I’m in Nazareth, a city inside Israel’s so-called Green Line, meaning the one before 1967. No U.N. here, no disputes here, no Israeli army rule here. No settlers here. Or, to be more exact: no Jews here. A Jew who wants to buy a home here better forget it because no one will sell it to him. Yet, this doesn’t mean that no Jew can do business here. And so, one day a Jew came up with an idea: the Jesus Trail.

Like many other Jewish inventions, this one is also a little complicated, but the short and sweet of it is this: a 65-km Jesus Christ walk, on a path that will take you a few days. What the trail comprises doesn’t really matter, and the Jewish businessman isn’t a Jesus believer to start with, but it will cost you $1,000 or so to compete. People of our day and time like sports mixed with a little spirituality.

Enter journalism. In front of me, at a local hotel’s reception area, stands a man who is taller than Jesus and weighs more than God. He is a British journalist, he tells me, and he is in town to write a special report on the Jesus Trail. I examine him intently: He gets up from his chair, walks five steps to the cake table, which entails a considerable effort as his face immediately fills up with sweat. I say nothing.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.