The Jacoby Rosenfield family first came on the New York Ride and Retreat three years ago, when Paul was looking for a way to get more involved with exercise, and biking seemed like a good option. Rachel is very involved in the Jewish environmental community, and works as the director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. The New York Ride seemed like the perfect way to bring together the family’s passion for the environment and Paul’s desire to get back into biking. Paul rode that first ride on an old bike (that he had had since high school!) and loved every second of it. Rachel and their kids, Maayan, 11, and Yonah, 8, attended as part of the Ruach (Spirit) Crew, and Rachel and Paul were both amazed at the community and environment the ride created (dynamic and pluralistic, in Rachel’s words), and how much their family enjoyed being a part of that community.
After the family’s first ride, Paul bought a new bike, and they have attended the ride every year since. Last year, Paul completed the century ride for the first time, a huge accomplishment! The whole family has made friends that they see each year on the ride, and Paul even started and captains the Riverdale Riders, a team for the family’s hometown. Aside from being a fun, active weekend that the Jacoby Rosenfields always have to look forward to, the ride has had an impact on their lives year-round. Biking has proved the perfect way for Paul to stay active, and as the kinds have gotten older, the whole family has begun to bike together during their summer vacations.
Rachel explained that what has been most incredible about the New York Ride is that she and Paul have found that every year, it is one of the rare occasions when all of the values that they try to share with their children come together in one event. The ride has proven to be a great way for them to share with the children the connection between love of food, environmental values, Jewish values, and outdoor physical activity. These are concepts that Yonah and Maayan have definitely picked up through the years. After seeing his dad complete ride after ride, and seeing his dedication to exercise, Yonah wanted to join in. Paul wakes up before the rest of the family every morning so that he can exercise, and recently, Yonah asked if he could come along. Since then, Paul’s morning exercise has become a great father-son activity, and the two have spent early mornings biking and swimming together. As she has gotten older, Maayan has become increasingly fascinated by the connection between the environment and Judaism, and attended Eden Village Camp for the first time this summer. She had an incredible time there, and came home and taught the whole family how to make granola. This year she is even more excited than usual for the Ride, as she can’t wait to see some of her friends and counselors from camp.
The New York Ride has become an annual event that Jacoby Rosenfield family always has to look forward to, and that has become more important to them with each passing year. Part of what makes the New York Ride and Retreat such an exciting and unique experience is that the inclusive community it creates and its broad activity offerings mean that it really does have something for everyone. No matter why you come to the Ride, or who you come with, it promises to be a fun and meaningful weekend.