In the early hours of a winter Sunday morning, while most were several hours from rolling out of bed, a fervent crowd of community members and teens were lacing up their sneakers to run for Jewish education. Last month, NCSY and the Jewish Student Union hosted the first annual 5k Pizza Run at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, CA. “The event exceeded our every expectation, both in dollars raised for JSU and in community awareness and support,” said Rabbi Effie Goldberg, Executive Director of West Coast NCSY and JSU. JSU operates in over 200 public and private high school campuses across the country, reaching more than 12,000 teens annually. The JSU clubs provide Jewish teens with programs that strengthen their Jewish identity and connection to Israel by educating in a fun and social atmosphere. Clubs provide a safe place to discuss and debate Israel, life as a Jew, and how to plan life on a college campus- while serving students free kosher pizza. “Our impact extends far beyond the classroom. Students who initially come for the pizza go on to participate in Jewish activities including retreats, weekly learning seminars, community service projects, Friday night dinners, and other meaningful events,” said Solly Hess, Regional Director of West Coast NCSY and JSU. At the 5k Pizza Run, the vibe from both adults and teens was exuberant, as over 60 students and community members joined in solidarity for JSU. Each runner raised money for his or her JSU club through selling pizza pie sponsorships. The day of the run brought a feeling of unity, camaraderie, and outright fun.