Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Swimmer's Story

Cheryl Mandel is a working mother, a former go-go dancer and character actress in Gush Etzion's local theatrical productions. She's also always ready for a challenge. A casual swimmer, Cheryl began training in earnest two months ago for the First Annual All Women's Kinneret Swim to benefit Rosh Tzurim's Sadnat Shiluv, which aims to help integrate special needs young people into the community.
After Cheryl's swim today, she actually wrote about her experience.
You can read it here:

I got up at 5:30 am – very reluctantly – and opened my door to see a buzz of activity in blue shirts as everyone was getting coffee and registering. My wonderful roommates for the night were Zelda Rubin (pictured below) and Sharon Katz (pictured in bottom photo) and no one complained about snoring and they encouraged me to get moving! Uugg, putting on a bathing suit before 6 AM is unnatural. But I did it for the good of the world. Drank coffee with real sugar, ate cake and was ready to spring into action. After we saw the 3.5 km swimmers enter the water and disappear around the bend we went to Maagan to await the call to enter the water. I was the one injury of the day as I stepped into the water and on a bee that did just what bees should do and stung me! Pain spread through my foot but I was brave and put my flippers on anyway. We were given the permission to start and off we went, yellow, red and blue bathing caps. The water was perfect, cool and calm and green. The sky was perfect, blue and cloudless and warm. It was a unique experience to swim and experience the sun coming up and getting into your eyes. In the swimming pool, swimming 1.5 km was a big effort for me. In the Kinneret, it was a breeze and although I was glad to approach the shore (among the first group), I could have kept on swimming. It was a joyous experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to repeating next year. Maybe you folks will start swimming and join me?
Some facts – there were 85 swimmers – it seems that every time that I asked, there were another 10 swimmers with us! Next year there will be triple the number.
I swam 1.5 km and it too me about 1 hour.
There were swimmers over the age of 70 and maybe over the age of 80 (can't really ask for ages).
One young woman, a survivor of a car accident 12 years ago that left her very handicapped, swam with us and was truly an inspiration for all of us.
All the swimmers committed to raise money and that will be for hostels in Rosh Tzurim part of Sadnat Shiluv. I do not know how much was raised but thank you all for supporting me.
Here is Sharon's blog about it and pictures will come later. I was so tired after that I slept on the bus – unheard of for me.

Thank you to Vivienne Glaser for organizing the swim.


  1. Amazing and very impressive!

  2. That's my gal !!!
    You're one of six million heroes !!!
    Luv'ya, Bernie Mandell