Run, Mama, run!

Run, Mama, run!

JCC’s Rubin Run will put Mother’s Day in motion

Brandi Katz Rubin, wearing #1538, her husband Jed, and her family stand together before last year’s 
Rubin Run.
Brandi Katz Rubin, wearing #1538, her husband Jed, and her family stand together before last year’s Rubin Run.

Encouraging people to live healthy lives always has been a goal of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly.

The 36th annual Rubin Run, which will take place on Sunday, May 14 — Mother’s Day — is a good example of the JCC in action. More than 2,000 runners are expected to participate in a half marathon, a 10k run, or a 5k run/walk. People at all levels of fitness are welcome, and there are trainers available to help the participants reach their full potential.

The Rubin Run offers more than races. There also are activities for kids, as well as free babysitting. And since it is Mother’s Day, each mom who crosses the finish line will receive a rose.

Michelle Kohn
Michelle Kohn

Leonard Rubin gave his name, along with his support, to the community-wide event when it began back in the early 1980s. “The motivation was to have a race for wellness awareness, to get people involved in a healthy lifestyle, and to make the newly built JCC a part of it,” said Brandi Katz Rubin of Demarest, who is married to Leonard Rubin’s eldest grandson, Jed. “They asked Leonard Rubin to be the sponsor, and it was called the Lenny Rubin run for the first few years.” Ms. Rubin has been participating in the run since 1999, when she began to date her now husband. “I won a trophy that day, and now, 18 years later, I have run or pushed a stroller in the run almost every year,” she said. “My three older children run in the run every year — Judah is 11, Charlotte is 9, and Lenny is 7 — and I will jog this year while pushing my last child, Greta Syril Rubin, who is 10 months, in a stroller.”

Michelle R. Kohn of Bergenfield has a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been in private practice for more than 20 years. “Exercise, even 10 to 20 minutes of activity a day, has huge health benefits,” she said. “It has a significant positive impact on anxiety, depression, and ADHD. It enhances memory, improves sleep, and helps maintain a sense of self-control and overall well-being.” Dr. Kohn practices what she preaches, and will join the half marathon runners on May 14. “Turning 45 was somewhat frightening for me,” she said. “For whatever reason, that number felt very foreign. So I decided I needed to do something on my bucket list that was just for me.

“I’ve always watched people do marathons. They make it look so easy — but I know it’s not. I was in awe about how someone could get into that kind of physical shape and could have stamina for such a long run.

A mother and daughter run together last year.
A mother and daughter run together last year.

“I decided that was my goal — a half marathon — and I was gonna push my body till I succeeded.”

The Rubin Run also is a fundraiser for the JCC. Rochelle Lazarus, the JCC’s public relations director, said, “In addition to enjoying time as a family on Mother’s Day, the race provides an opportunity for our entire community to help fulfill a core JCC mission, which is to provide social services, vocational training, and healthy lifestyle programs for children, teens, and adults with special needs. It’s very rewarding to see nearly 2,000 people assemble and support a cause that will help this special population live more productive, meaningful lives.”

The Guttenberg Center for Special Services needs a 14-passenger van to transport people with special needs who will directly benefit from programming at the JCC. The fundraising goal for the Run is $125,000, and a portion of the proceeds will be used to buy this van.

Catherine Brown and her son, Gabriel, after the run last year.
Catherine Brown and her son, Gabriel, after the run last year.

Todd Brody of Englewood has been a runner for years. He has done the Rubin Run for several of those years. This year, running has special significance because of where the money is going and how the JCC has helped his family. “The importance of the Rubin Run really hit home this year,” Mr. Brody said. “My mother-in-law, who now lives with us, is only able to take advantage of the senior programming at the JCC because they provide transportation. So I am keenly aware of the importance of having the ability to bring people to the JCC when they cannot get there on their own. With proceeds raised through the Rubin Run, the JCC will be able to purchase a new passenger van to help people with special needs get access to programming.”

Catherine Brown of Englewood, an active member of the JCC, has participated in the Rubin Run for the last nine years. “I ran in both the 10K and the 5K events, usually pacing one of my children for the 5K, and I ran the half marathon during its inaugural year,” she said. “This year, like last year, I plan on running the 10K with my now 11-year-old son, and both of my daughters will be dancing at the race festivities with the JCC dance company.” She is has volunteered on many JCC committees but was especially honored to be asked to join the Rubin Run committee this year. “We love having such a great community resource so close to our home,” she said.

Individual runners and teams can register online at Early-bird registration runs through April 14 and you can register online until May 10. Thereafter, registration is at the JCC.

The run’s lead sponsors this year include the Kaplen Foundation, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, the Rubin family, the Jewish Standard, and the North Jersey Media Group.

For sponsorship opportunities and more information, call Michal Kleiman at (201) 408-1412 or email her at

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