by Ros Roucher
The scar under my right knee helps me not forget Sde Boker. On my right arm, the scar that helps me not forget Jerusalem has become very faint. Remembering both is Redemption.
When, shortly before the First Annual Israel Ride, I bought my first cycling shoes and clips, the guy at the bike store said, “there are two types of riders- those who have fallen and those who have not fallen yet.” I moved from category A to category B about halfway through the ride, on the approach to Sde Boker. As we descended towards the site, something caught my eye, to the right, up a hill. I called out to the riders around me, “look at that!” and suddenly I was down, trapped in my clips, my first fall, blood running down my leg from a cut right below my knee. Someone fixed me up and I generally ignored the knee until it started to throb with pain on the plane ride home several days later. When the infected area healed I knew the scar would stay and yet I welcomed the mark. Each time I look at that scar I remember Sde Boker, the ride, the man, the vision. Like when I look at my right arm (yemini) and see the scar left over from cooking in a new oven in Jerusalem 8 years prior to the knee, I remember Jerusalem- my right arm will not let me forget.
Participating in the first Israel Ride served as a bridge between the Israel of Jerusalem and the Israel of Sde Boker then to – a journey that brought me into the landscape (think Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.) Seen from a bird’s-eye view, we connected the dots. Follow our path as we zig-zagged from the center of the country to the south. See how we spoke the modern language of flat tires and skinned knees in the language of our ancestors. See how we marked a modern observance in an ancient land when we commemorated Yom HaShoah together in Ashkelon. See how we brought our love for Israel and the work of our legs to express our commitment to improving the land, to strengthening relationships with Israel’s neighbors, and to transforming the spiritual into something physical (and vice-versa). Standing at the grave of Ben Gurion and viewing below a landscape we had scaled, we were the link between the land of our biblical ancestors and the land of Ben Gurion’s vision.