Priest, rabbi square off for marathon


Rabbi Laurie Rice, left, serves the Congregation Micah in Brentwood, Tenn. Father Mike Tobin is pastor of the Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky. The two religious leaders plan to run the Boston Marathon next April.

A priest and a rabbi compete to raise the most money. It sounds like the start of a joke. But raising money for charity is no joke to Father Michael Tobin and Rabbi Laurie Rice.

The two religious leaders plan to run the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2020.
Father Tobin is pastor of Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky., and is running for the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.

And, Rabbi Rice serves the Congregation Micah in Brentwood, Tenn. She is running for The Heather Abbott Foundation.

The two have entered a friendly competition to boost their fundraising.

“It’s simply an effort to raise money for our charities. Because we celebrate Christmas Dec. 25 and Hanukkah is in the month of December, we said, ‘Well let’s bring light into the world by Dec. 31,’ ” Father Tobin said in a recent phone interview.

Individuals are encouraged to donate by year’s end.

Last year, Father Tobin raised $47,000 for the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. Currently, his fundraising total stands at $8,600 nearing his $12,400 goal. At last tally, Rabbi Rice had raised $17,664 of her initial $15,000 goal. Now she has her sights set on $20,000.

Last year, the funds raised by Father Tobin provided nine heart surgeries for children. He said he hopes to fund at least two or three more this year.

These funds also assist with surgeries at the only children’s hospital in the Dominican Republic. The baseball player and charity founder, David Ortiz, is from the Dominican Republic.

Rabbi Rice said she runs “to give back and to give thanks for what my body is able to do every day.”

“The Heather Abbott Foundation provides prosthetic limbs to amputees of all ages. These prosthetics are expensive — really expensive. And for those who find themselves in need, there is simply nothing more life saving or life affirming than receiving the gift of mobility,” Rabbi Rice said in an email.

The “loser” of the competition has agreed to be present at a worship service at the other’s congregation and will do a reading from the Word of God in the language of that congregation. Father Tobin will read from the Old Testament in Hebrew if he loses and Rabbi Rice will read from the Old Testament in Latin or Spanish if she comes up short in the fundraising challenge.

“I’m not confident in my Hebrew. I took a course 26 years ago in Hebrew. I may need to reach out to the local Jewish community to prepare myself,” Father Tobin said.

To donate to Father Tobin’s charity, click here.

Individuals may also mail checks to: Fr. Mike Tobin, with DOCF indicated on the memo line, Church of the Annunciation, 120 Main Street, Shelbyville, Ky., 40065.

Or, donations can be made in the name of the charity and sent to their mailing address at 27068 La Paz Road, Suite 645, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 92656. Include Fr. Mike Tobin on the memo line.

Rabbi Rice’s page can be found here.

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