Grab your running shoes and get ready for the fourth annual Russell Friedman 5K Run and Walk on June 11. The annual event brings together community members of the Brandeis Hebrew Academy not only for a race but to honor the memory of a former parent and Brandeis president.
“Russell Friedman was a driven man dedicated to his family, career and maintaining his Jewish values,” Elana Lederman, co-president of the Brandeis Parents’ Association wrote in an email. “He knew Brandeis was where he wanted his children to be.”
Lederman said the origins of the race helps to attract not only members of the Brandeis community but Five Towns neighbors too.
“The race began four years ago as a way to bring the Brandeis community as well as the whole Five Towns,” she wrote. “To support Brandeis and bring awareness to the strength of our Brandeis community.”
This year’s race will mark the second year the event is named after Friedman.
The decision to name the 5K in his honor came after Lederman said Friedman played a big part in the sustainability and continuity of the community and being a longtime resident of the Five Towns.
“We had the pleasure of knowing Russell Friedman and working with him throughout the years,” she said. “Russell was kind, dedicated, smart, charismatic and present.”
Friedman, who died on Dec. 9, 2021, served as chair co-president with his lifelong friend, Stuart Kotler. Both sent their children to Brandeis.
“I’m very grateful and blessed to have been able to call him my dad,” said Rachel Friedman, class of 2008 and one of Russell’s four daughters. “He was very about helping others and supporting the community. He really believed in Jewish education getting the community together to support that, especially how the conservative movement in Jewish education is changing. I think it really means a lot.”
Kim, Samantha and Danielle are also Russell’s daughters.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic delaying the race in 2020, the event has grown since its inaugural race in 2019, attracting families, friends, runners and sponsors.
This year, more activities have been added to what Lederman described as a fun and relaxed event that illustrates what Brandeis is all about.
“We have our catered brunch immediately following the run/walk,” Lederman stated in an email. “DJ, bounce houses, great food and great fun along with a Chinese auction that has been added this year offering great prizes and amazing trips.”
The race starts outside of the Brandeis Hebrew Academy at 25 Frost Lane in Lawrence on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., rain or shine.