When Everett special education teacher Joshua Gorelick isn’t preparing lessons or engaging with students, he’s lacing up his sneakers for a run.
This weekend, on Nov. 4, he’s going to go for a 26.2-mile run in New York City – and he’s doing it to benefit Holocaust survivors.
Gorelick, who is teaching in his second year at Everett High, has run Marathons before, including the Disney Marathon earlier this year. It’s something he never thought he would do until one day and one spur of the moment decision.
“I started running three years ago,” he said. “It started with one of my friends asking if I wanted to run a 5K. I said no way. Then I agreed. I said I would never go 5K, then I would never go 10K, then never a half-Marathon, then never a full Marathon. Now I’ve done all of those runs and the New York Marathon will be my second full Marathon this year.”
Gorelick, 34, is raising money for Blue Card, a charity for Holocaust survivors that are living below the poverty level. The Blue Card provides direct financial help to vulnerable survivors struggling to get by in 35 states, including Massachusetts.
“Once I saw Blue Card, it was a no-brainer,” he said. “My grandfather fought in World War II for the Allies. He helped to free the survivors. It was a no-brainer for me. It’s so important to help these people. There are only like 100,000 survivors left to help. Some of them are living on $20,000 a year. They can’t support themselves. They should be comfortable in their twilight years with the atrocities and horrors they have lived through and seen. Being Jewish and originally being from New York, it was a great fit.”
Gorelick is Jewish and his family was in Russia and Poland as World War II broke out. Fortunately, he said they got out before the atrocities began, heading to America. However, growing up he found a lot of survivors in New York who shared the stories of what they went through.
Originally from Long Island, Gorelick came to the Everett Public Schools after a career change. He studied film and telecommunications in college, but decided he wanted to try teaching. It was another perfect fit.
“I love it,” he said. “I love the school and the support the other teachers and administration gives us in Everett,” he said. “My students are unbelievable and amazing people. It’s a pleasure to go into work every day. I never thought I would say that before about a job that involves waking up at 5 a.m., but it’s the case here.”
The Blue Card, the only organization in the United States with the sole mission of providing ongoing, direct financial aid to Holocaust survivors in need, is one of the official charity partners of the TCS NYC Marathon. It helps close to 3,000 Holocaust survivor households – including those in the Boston area – with ongoing assistance for most basic needs including food, rent and utilities, and for emergencies such as dental care and special medical equipment, along with many other programs to improve well-being.
Since 2009, Team Blue Card has raised more than $1 million for Holocaust survivors at sports endurance events including the TCS New York City Marathon, TD Five Boro Bike Tour, Miami Marathon, NYC Triathlon and more throughout the world. Overall, The Blue Card has provided nearly $35 million to Holocaust survivors throughout the U.S.
For those who would like to help financially, Gorelick’s fundraising page: https://www.crowdrise.com/joshuas-2018-nyc-marathon-fundraiser