With the many nations and religions taking part in running races and races starting getting much of our calendars, there is unavoidable conflict between the two. Conflict between religion and sports. Conflict between the spirit and the body.

Many religions place enormous strain on their sportsmen by requiring them to fasten during the time they have to practice hard. Muslims who observes Ramadan had to go without food between sunrise and sunset, and if they decide to take part of the race face a difficult choice. I’ve seen some of them turning to friends or social media to help them with the difficult decision. They have to either drop out of the race or forgo fasting and drinking water on the days they train or practice after sunset.

For Jews, the main collision of running vs religions is on or after Yom Kippur, which also requires fasting. This calendar year had two big marathons held exactly after Yom Kippur, which made it difficult for the Jews. Boston marathon collided with Jewish Passover, and yet again pose a big challenge for the observing Jews. I remember having sore feet the day after the event. I have incredibly flat feet and my (old) shoes were making running quite difficult. However, I didn’t want to run with brand new shoes and I failed planning ahead. I remembered to use my flat feet insoles into the running shoes which balanced it out a bit, but still I needed a new pair. I got online and Got Saucony Omni which is named one of the top running shoes for flat footed men. Must say I am pretty pleased with them so far.

I’ve heard rumors for the controversy of races on Christmas day as well, which is a big disadvantage for Christians.

Although major race organizers claim they take religious commitments very seriously and try to fit the racing schedule outside the religious commitments whenever possible.

With the ever growing calendar of scheduling events this is not possible at all times. Yom Kippur is tied with the Jewish Calendar and its date varies between September 14 and October 14, so the race has to be flexible too.

This is incredibly complicated. To make matters worse not only do religious holidays vary, but also race events are getting more and more.

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Starting with the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges, passing through the neurotic comedic genius of Woody Allen and getting to the present comedic scene where actors like Sarah Silverman, Hudd Apatow and Andy Samberg are among the best in comedy. The question is – how come there have been and still are so many Jews in comedy? There are several possible reasons and explanations of why there are so many Jews in American comedy.

First of all, the fact that Jews in America are a very small and white minority as compared to the Christians and Catholics, so in order to deal with the fact that Christianity is on every corner, in every movie and the Christian holidays are so widely commercialized and celebrated could be the reason for the American Jews to feel a little overwhelmed. The best way to deal with this situation is through humor.

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Another possible reason for the Jewish comedy phenomenon in the US could be the Tikkun Olam Jewish learning. It translates as “to repair the world. Jews believe that they can repair the world by doing good things, helping the less fortunate and striving toward living a more fulfilling life, since Judaism stresses on the importance of this life, rather than the afterlife. And what better way to make the world and life better – than some humor? Jewish people believe they are the “Chosen ones” who are put on earth to make it a better place. Judaism doesn’t involve the aggressive conversion, and in fact if someone is willing to convert to Judaism there is a very strict policy of three refusals and a number of other requirements before the process of conversion can begin. This factor makes the Jewish community tighter, and no doubt requires some humor to cope with.

In fact, the latter is another possible reason for the strong presence of Jews in US comedy. The fact that the community is very much smaller than the overwhelming Christian community in America has made them stick with each other and to try to politely refuse all invitations to join the mass American religion and be like the Christian Americans. Relenting to humor is a good way to deal with this overwhelming difference in the traditions, holidays, food and other parts of the Jewish life.

Also, if you have noticed the Jewish comic artists most commonly rely on the excessive talking, and excessive talking is in many cases caused by nervousness. Living as a tiny minority which is so different than the majority of people around you can definitely cause this kind of nervousness.

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After years of surveying of Jewish people living around the globe, and asking what the number one reason is for feeling great to be Jewish, here are the 10 most common answers:

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  1. The Jewish community is an extraordinary one, with an extraordinary history. The history of Judaism started 3,500 years ago, which makes it one of the oldest religions in the world. Today, there are more than 14 million Jews living all around the world. The fundamentals of Judaism have set the basis for the fundamental concepts in our civilization, such as the ten commandments, the 7 day week concept with Sabbath being a day for rest, the close integration between religious practice and the ethics of everyday life, are just a few.
  2. The value system of the Jewish community. As the Hillel rulings say “Do not do to others what is hateful to you” which is the basis of the Jewish and later on – the Christian value systems. Jewish people believe in human compassion, honesty and justice.
  3. Freedom and self-esteem. Judaism stresses on the importance of personal freedom, which is most evident at the oldest celebration of freedom in the world – Passover. Historically, Jews have been fighting for their freedom and have led such struggles against various oppressors.
  4. Judaism makes life more meaningful. The traditions, celebrations and beliefs of Judaism addresses the important things in life, including: the importance of family and human connection, as well as the anguish of suffering and the mysteries of love. The purpose of life and the questions about death.
  5. Family life for Jews. The family is the center point of all Jewish traditions, rituals and observance of holidays. One good example of keeping the family close is the tradition of Shabbat, when the family gets together on Friday night and celebrates Shabbat with a special meal.
  6. The belief that good deeds tip the worlds’ balance between evil and good toward the good side. Jewish people are required to help the people with less money by giving one tenth of their income for Tzedakah (charity).
  7. Tikkun Olamrepairing the world. Jews place a greater importance on the actual life and the constant striving to make life better and just. Since Judaism doesn’t emphasize the importance of the afterlife, but rather the importance of this life.
  8. The Jewish community. Judaism is very much a communal religion. Jews pray together, and there is even a requirement which requires that the prayer is said by at least 10 people (Minyan).
  9. The Jewish holidays. Filled with meaningful liturgies, community, family, delicious food and love, Jewish holidays are being observed closely by the Jewish people, and all the traditions of these holidays and celebration are meticulously being passed over from one generation to the next.
  10. Positive thinking. Having positive thinking, saying blessings before each meal and thanking God when one sees a rainbow are traditions which make Jews more positive.
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