UPDATE: This article has been edited from the original version, which was posted today (Sept. 13) at 1:17 p.m. See corrections at the bottom of the article.
By Senaya Savir
On Sunday, Sept. 11, MEOR, an organization that supports and promotes Jewish culture amongst students, hosted its annual “Welcome Back 5K Run and BBQ.” This year, the event featured a special commemoration of 9/11 on its 15th anniversary. MEOR additionally honored the late Mark Rosenberg, who worked at Marsh McLennan and died in the World Trade Center, along with local First Responders.
Rosenberg’s sister-in-law Devora Jaye, who originally created the annual 5K, began the event by speaking on behalf of Rosenberg and how he inspired her to do the youth work she does today.
“Most people know I try to avoid speaking in public as much as possible, but when the opportunity was presented to speak about Mark on such a special day, I really couldn’t pass it up,” said Jaye, MEOR’s assistant director.
“He was fun, he was always surrounded by a pack of kids, always gesturing with his hands to make a point,” Jaye said in her speech. She explained how Rosenberg was the one who got her involved in the youth work she’s actively involved in now. According to Jaye, every job she’s completed since then has been a direct result of the connections Rosenberg has made for her.
In addition to describing Rosenberg’s impact on her own life, Jaye spoke about how Rosenberg was a part of the inspiration behind the annual 5K run. “Mark was very into fitness,” Jaye said. “He would bike every Sunday morning from his home in Teaneck to Central Park and back.”
Following Jaye’s speech, rabbi Ari Koretzky brought the local First Responders on stage and gave each department a plaque that read “may God bless and protect you in your holy mission.”
“It doesn’t have to be some sort of dramatic terror attack that we should never know of, but just day to day, we know there are so many things that go on,” Koretzky said as he thanked the local heroes on stage for their service.
As the memorial came to a close, Koretzky referenced the Jewish custom of breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding. “We break the glass because, even though we are celebrating, the world is still not perfect,” Koretzky said. Koretzky aimed to preach the importance of stopping and commemorating important past events, such as 9/11, while also acknowledging that life goes on.
In addition to celebrating the courage that it took to combat the effects of 9/11, Koretzky praised MEOR for hosting this 5K and barbecue.
“Our goal every year is to host a kickoff BBQ and 5K event that launches a new semester – and new campus year – in celebration and unity,” Koretzky said. “The program welcomes hundreds of students and community guests for an evening of delicious food, bonding and, we hope, a bit of inspiration.”
Aaron Franco, a sophomore business major and a player on the UMD soccer team, is an active participant in MEOR activities. Franco attended this event and brought along some of his teammates to celebrate UMD’s Jewish community and all that has been done to improve our country since 9/11.
“It turned out great as I was able to bring along seven teammates with me to come support the 9/11 BBQ and 5k hosted by MEOR,” Franco said. “They had a great time, ate good food and felt very welcomed.”
Rabbi Ari Israel also attended the event and felt that the event was “meaningful and an appropriate dedication that the Jewish community is respectful of those who perished and supportive and honoring of those… who are everyday on the front lines protecting us.”
“One of the key parts of being a Jew is being thankful and being able to say, ‘todah,’” Israel said.
CORRECTION: Due to editing errors, an earlier version of this article named Mark Rosenberg as a film producer, when in fact he worked for Marsh McLennan. Additionally, Devora Jaye works at MEOR and helped plan the event; she was not just a guest speaker. Lastly, due to a reporting error, the article said that Rosenberg biked every morning rather than every Sunday morning.