Hurricane Sandy wreaked destruction in the Northeast, but in Issaquah it caused two neighbors to meet.
Growing up in Kew Gardens, Queens, Sabina Honig had dreamed of running the New York Marathon since she was 10. She didn’t start running until about 2001, trying to get back in shape after her son was born.
There are a few ways to get into the world’s most famous marathon, but the most common way is through a lottery. She had entered that lottery unsuccessfully a few times when she still lived back east. Then she tried again this year and secured a spot.
The Microsoft employee learned she wasn’t going even before the race was cancelled because her flight — and all flights — was cancelled first.
“ I was really upset,” she says. In addition to running, she was anxious to see her family. “There was a lot of emotion around this trip… I trained for so long. It was such a huge letdown.”
Then she wondered, “What would make me feel better?”
And that, she realized, was “to run the marathon, and do it in such a way that it would have some tie to New York,” said. “To help people.”
She decided to run the marathon here as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts. She solicited pledges and donations, and her friend Becki Chandler offered to be her support person, carrying water and other supplies on her bike.
Becki, who works at the American Jewish Committee, is a Northwest native who grew up in Bothell. She and Sabina met at a Shabbat dinner soon after Sabina moved here. She says that a 26-mile bike ride is average for her.
“I was glad I had the opportunity to help out a friend who had set this goal …and wasn’t able to get there,” reflects Becky. “She took lemons and made lemonade.”
Looking for company, Sabina posted a notice about her run on the Issaquah Highlands Facebook page. Amir Feinsilber stepped up.
Israeli-born, Chicago-bred Amir is a former video game programmer who founded The Force Realty (he once worked with George Lucas). He, his wife Stacey and three kids, Hannah, Joshua and Benjamin, moved here from Las Vegas about three years ago. A serious runner who clocks eight to 10 miles each day, and runs one to two marathons a year, Amir says Sabina’s notice touched him because he was also concerned for his own friends and family in the Northeast.
“The devastation…[was] really disheartening,” he says, and he adds, “I’m a sucker for a challenge as well.” He only committed to running 10 miles of the route, because he had not trained for a marathon.
On Nov. 4, the scheduled day of the New York race, Sabina, Amir and Becki started out from the Issaquah Highlands, heading through downtown Issaquah, along Lake Sammamish into a bit of Bellevue, and looping back to downtown Issaquah.
At 13 miles, Amir had the option of peeling off and heading to Temple B’nai Torah where his kids were in Sunday school (and where Sabina’s husband Henry Honig teaches) and Stacey could get him. But he kept going and completed the 26 miles.
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Josh Feinsilber, front right, onstage in the Village Theater’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” (Photo courtesy Village Theater)
Speaking of Issaquah, fans of its Village Theater may recognize the name Feinsilber. Josh Feinsilber, Amir’s middle son, is currently in “Fiddler on the Roof,” which is getting rave reviews.
Amir says Josh showed an early and natural ability for the stage, taking direction well and engaging the audience. “I’m not just saying this because I’m his father,” he laughs.
Josh got the theater bug when the family still lived in Las Vegas, appearing in a “KidShine” show and singing in their synagogue choir.
Josh says his favorite part of Fiddler “would have to be” the wedding scene because “there’s dancing and a lot of action.”
The budding young actor, a 6th grader at Pacific Cascade Middle School, says his favorite subject is Language Arts. He works hard to manage his schoolwork and get good grades even while he is in a show.
Josh is also excited about his upcoming role at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theater, when he will play Winthrop in their 2013 production of “Music Man,” reprising a part he also played at the Village Theater.
Fiddler plays in Issaquah through the end of December and in Everett through the end of January. More information is at www.villagetheatre.org.