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November 21, 2013 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-11-21

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56

November 21 • 2013

Frankel Jewish Academy cross-country team: back row, Rabbi Azaryah Cohen,
David Adler, Ean Otis, Noah Eisenberg, Adam Phillips, Lorne Newhouse, Jeremy
Rosenberg and Michael Krivichkin; on shoulders, Nathan Klausner; front row,
Kyla Klein, Autumn Jacob, Tatum Partrich, Zoe Soble, Madeleine Gonte and
Anne Slabotsky (a former member of the team). Not pictured is Brendan Baxter.

Steve Stein
Contributing Writer

L

ed by their running rabbi, the
boys and girls on the Frankel
Jewish Academy cross-country
teams had a successful season.
Their times dropped from race to race,
the result of their hard work in practice.
Rabbi Azaryah Cohen, the teams' coach
for a half-dozen years, began running in
his teens and racing competitively in his
20s.
Now age 40, he's completed seven
marathons, including the Detroit Free
Press Marathon and International Tiberias
Marathon in Israel, and five half-mara-
thons.
Cohen may be unique among area high
school coaches and area competitive long-
distance runners.
He said he hasn't come across any other
rabbis who are coaches, nor has he met a
rabbi competing at a race.
Many students who join the cross-coun-
try teams at the West Bloomfield school
are new to running. Cohen said he enjoys
working with those blank slates.
"I try to explain that while running is a
physical activity, the heart, mind and spirit
of a runner can be just as important:' he
said.
"I know this from the distance races I've
run. Runners — especially those new to
the sport — often battle themselves. On
hot days or when feeling drained, stopping
or walking is so appealing.
"The difference between the runner
who stops or walks and the runner who
continues is determination. To continue
and finish is often a victory of spirit and
mind:'
Cohen frequently runs with his cross-
country teams in practice.
The academy's director of Jewish studies
said he loves the opportunity to spend that
informal time with students.
"I think it's important to be a positive
role model for students, for them to see a
teacher and rabbi who is involved in com-
petitive sports:' he said.
But running doesn't have to be competi-
tive. That's another lesson Cohen teaches
his runners.
"Running can be meditative and reju-

venating," he said. "It can help you process
events or challenges after a difficult day.
"I began running at a relatively young
age on my own and have seen how much
it has benefited me. I want to give students
the guidance and coaching I never had
when I began running and show them
how running can benefit them"
Nine boys and five girls competed in
cross country this fall at the academy.
Seniors Noah Eisenberg and Lorne
Newhouse, juniors David Adler and Adam
Phillips, sophomores Brendan Baxter and
Michael Krivichkin, and freshmen Nathan
Klauser, Ean Otis and Jeremy Rosenberg
were on the boys team.
Seniors Madeleine Gonte, Kyla Klein
and Zoe Soble, junior Autumn Jacob and
freshman Tatum Partrich were on the girls
team.
Newhouse was on the team for four
years. What kept him going all those
years?
"I liked being on a team and seeing how
much we improved during the season:' he
said.
Soble began running cross country this
year and became hooked.
"It's such an independent sport. I was
constantly pushing myself to beat my old
best time she said. "I also enjoyed the
self-discipline that was needed and getting
into better shape"
Both seniors plan to continue to run.
Newhouse said running will help him
stay healthy and relieve stress. Soble wants
to run a marathon.
"Cross country helped me develop the
skills and confidence to pace myself and
run long-distance she said.
Asked to give a one-word description of
what it feels like to finish a cross-country
race, Newhouse said, "Satisfying" Soble
called it, "Exhilarating"
Cohen said he felt mixed emotions
when the season ended.
"It was difficult saying goodbye to the
seniors. Some, like Lorne, have been with
me since their freshman year:' he said.
"But I really enjoyed watching some of
the younger runners who had little to no
background in running improve dramati-
cally during the season:'



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