Running Jerusalem.

I’ve taken to running in the evenings with a friend. It’s an activity I’ve always enjoyed but just can’t summon the energy to do alone.

Running, jogging, speed walking – it’s a culture here in Jerusalem. I see it a lot more than I saw it back in New York, where I think more people go to the gym or run specifically in parks.

Since I’ve begun the routine here I’ve noticed something else about the culture of working out, something curious: People will actively call out to you as you pass them, “kol hakavod!” (good for you).

At first, I thought it was just men being men; it’s logical that they’d call out as young women pass by in tight tops and sweaty chests, right?

But it’s not just men. I’ll get respectful nods from women and men alike. Older folks will smile and call out the kol hakavod. There’s even a hint of respect from the young arsim who call out. I’m differentiating between whistles and the callouts, of course.

I think it’s cool. There’s this network of people who care about their health and actually do something – whether it’s walking at night with some friends, doing an all out iPod-esque run or a 20-minute jog. And there’s a real respect for it, too.

It just seems more visible here.