A car accident 11 years ago killed Eden Rutman and put her eight-and-a-half-year-old brother Raz in critical condition. When he regained consciousness after two months in the ICU, his mother, Esther, had to tell him the terrible news about his sister.
Then she added, “You have two choices: If you want, you can join Eden. If you want, you can live.”
Raz chose to live. And on March 21, a day after his 20th birthday, he will lead a group determined to finish the 800-meter accessible route in the Jerusalem Marathon, to raise funds and awareness for LOTEM, the 20-year-old nonprofit that has become entwined in the lives of the Rutman family.
They’ll be participating as part of a larger team under the banner of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, which has partnered with LOTEM for the past eight years to build accessible hiking trails and guide some 30,000 Israelis a year with physical, communication and intellectual challenges, hearing and vision impairments, who have an opportunity to experience the outdoors.
Other KKL-JNF partners, including farmers from the community of Halutza in the Negev and firefighters, will be running as part of this team.