Author Archive | Hazon

PEDALING FOR PEACE: 350 Miles (even more than I expected!!), Jerusalem to Eilat

By Rachel Brandenberg Back in Jerusalem after a week in the desert, having successfully completed 350 miles of bike riding through the southern half of Israel, I am sitting at the table in my apartment looking at and listening to a light rain through open windows, appreciating the cool breeze and pitter-patter of the water on my mirpeset (balcony). With great thanks to all of you who have supported or intend to support me, the Arava Institute and Hazon in this endeavor, I offer here a taste of the Israel Ride 2007 experience in stories and pictures. For more footage (still and video), reports from the ride, and/or to help me reach my fundraising goal, lots of great information is still available at After meeting the Arava Institute staff and students, visiting their facilities and hearing more about their work, as well as riding through much of the territory they study and work to preserve and develop, I can say with full confidence that I am happy to have embarked on this adventure and do all that I can to offer them my support. (more…)

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Grueling Desert Biking in Israel: Breaking out of the Comfort Zone, for a Cause

By Andy Katell “The hill is your friend,” Howie Rodenstein declared as he tried to brace 180 Americans, Australians and Israelis for what was to become the bicycle climb of their lives – 4,100 feet up from the lowest point on earth. Later, while trudging up yet another massive hill en route from the Dead Sea to Eilat, I learned that what Howie, a founder of the annual Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride, probably really meant was that the downhill is your friend. (more…)

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Daniel C – From Jerusalem to Eilat, The 2007 Arava/Hazon Israel Ride

Practicality flooded my realm today. Waking to find forty others gathered together for prayers overlooking Jerusalem, in its waking hours with its cars and lights, hitting 50 mph on the speedometer along the 20 mile downhill stretch outside of the ancient city, suffering the ogre belches of 18-wheeler’s exhaust pipes and trekking a good 50 miles under the desert’s 100 degree sun. We had a police motorcade. There was a point when our cop friends slowed down traffic enough (around 30 mph) for me to have a slight chance to catch up to the cars. I did. Three cheers! (more…)

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IsraelRide 2007 for Environmentalism and Peace: Jeff Borkan – Sharon, Massachusetts

Pushing the limits: wondering how and if my leg muscles will keep the spindly wheels turning, as another of the countless hills is attempted, heat rolls over my back, and the desert spreads out before me in a vista of earth tones and sky.  A major part of the theme of the ride was to further appreciate Israeli desert ecology as one pedals through it.  There is also the conscious effort to promote thinking more broadly than just the ecology of Israel, as “the environment knows no national borders”.  The 6 day trek of 178 riders took each of us beyond our individual capacities, created community, raised both ecological awareness and nearly $1m for worthy environmental causes, and left (except for the flights to the country), a fairly small carbon footprint. (more…)

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Jewish Week – “Retreat and Advance”

Retreat And Advance Debra Nussbaum Cohen – Staff Writer May 5, 2006 Next Labor Day weekend, Rabbis Jeff Roth and Joanna Katz will carefully remove the Torah scroll from its home at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish retreat center they founded 16 years ago, and carry it on the first leg of the journey to its new home. Then they’ll hand it off to pairs of friends who will take turns walking the holy scroll 62 miles, to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Removing the Torah will be the final act by Elat Chayyim’s leaders before they close the retreat center’s doors, bringing to an end a grand experiment in the spiritual renewal of Judaism. People with every kind of Jewish background went to Elat Chayyim to learn and practice meditation, experiment with neo-chasidic practices like chanting and ecstatic movement, and bring an environmentally sensitive consciousness to every act. The problem was that its ramshackle site was too uncomfortably funky for all but the most committed, and its creators and leaders were focused more on teaching than on finances. (more…)

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2005 New York Ride Keynote Address

 by Ariana Silverman This summer, my uncle, a middle-aged working father of three, volunteered to be a Little League Umpire. As many of you know, the difficulty of this particular job is not the physical exertion, or the danger of being confronted by a player, or even that there are that many pitches that are too close-to-call, but having to face the genuine wrath of a parent who feels that his or her child, or even his or her child’s team, has been wronged. During one particularly heated game, my uncle’s calls were repeatedly followed by yelling from an offended mother in the stands. Trying to keep his cool, when, in the middle of the forth inning, she asked for the count, he obligingly held up his hands . My uncle was stunned by her temporary silence, and then it came: “Ump, you’re gonna hafta yell-out the count-I don’t have my glasses on!” Tonight I invite you to join me in a conversation about seeing. Our Torah portion this Shabbat begins with the command to see: Re’eh. Re’eh Anochi Notein L’ifneicheim HaYom Bracha U’klalah. See, this day I set before you blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 11:26). This theme is not […]

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