Yesterday the Israel Ride entered the heart of the desert. Participants rode past magnificent desert vistas and ate lunch at Sde Boker, the burial place of David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel. While the Shomrim hiked to a beautiful desert spring in the afternoon, the Chalutzim took a detour to the Egyptian border. All three groups were greeted at the end of the day by one of the most breath-taking sites of the trip, Mitzpe Ramon.
After three days of riding, our community is enjoying a restful and rejuvenating Shabbat. Today riders have the option to participate in communal prayer, discussions, hikes and yoga. After lunch there will also be opportunities to learn more about the work of Hazon and the Arava Institute. These organizations encourage sustainability, peace and service in Israel and America. The Arava Institute exists to ensure that the world’s environmental resource challenges are a catalyst for dialogue, cooperation and trust among people. Located in Southern Israel, this specialized academic institute prepares young Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and international leaders to cooperatively address the region’s environmental needs. Hazon similarly promotes sustainability by creating healthier communities in the Jewish world and beyond. Hazon does so by effecting change in three ways: through transformative experiences, thought-leadership and capacity building in North America and Israel.
Both the Arava Institute and Hazon rely on the tremendous fundraising efforts of the Israel Ride. With the help of Israel Ride supporters, the Arava Institute offers scholarships to ambitious Middle Eastern students who would otherwise not be able to attend the program. Support also enables Hazon to transform people’s lives through teaching about sustainability, kosher foods and Jewish traditions.