by Misha Zinkow, Israel Rider, November 2010 On October 25, after bicycling from Jerusalem some 300 miles into the Negev and Sinai Deserts, 120 Hazon riders were rewarded with a stunning descent into Eilat, Israel’s southernmost point. Although the ride, the preparatory day and debriefing day spanned only 8 days, my journey in Israel included three Torah portions, Lech-lecha, Vayera and Chaye Sarah, and each parsha offered me a gift and an insight for the ride. Lech-lecha is the story of God’s challenge to Abraham to leave his hometown in Mesopotamia, embrace the radical theological notion that God is one, and to take that message west, all the way to the shores of the Mediterranean. The Torah portion begins with the words “Lech-lecha,” an unusual alliterative phraseology. (more…)
Hazon board member Mandy Patinkin, reprising his role as Inigo Montoya, to promote the 2006 Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride.
For the past 38 years, my dad, Alan Finkelstein, has been an avid bicyclist. While I can’t say I share his passion for bicycling, I certainly look up to him not only for his athletic ability, but also for his ability to use his passion as a vehicle for charity. The first charity bike ride that he ever did was the MS 150: City to Shore, a 2-day bike ride supporting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in 1999. Prior to that, bicycling was just something he considered a hobby, but the minute he learned about the MS150 he not only signed up for the ride but researched how he could be further involved in the event.
Rabbi Marc Soloway recently completed the 300 mile bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat as a participant in the 2010 Arava Institute & Hazon Israel Ride this past October. This year, he also serves as co-chair of the 2010 Hazon Food Conference West in December. He explains how they are both part of a greater movement and how that movement ties to our community. The exhilaration of riding 300 miles on a bike through the dramatically changing landscape of Israel, a region so full of depth, beauty, history, complexity and instability, has been one of the richest and most challenging experiences of my life. I have recently completed my second Hazon-Arava Israel Ride and the impact of this great adventure continues to stir me in so many ways. Beyond the physical demand and sense of achievement that comes with pedaling an average of 60 miles a day for five days, there is such a sense of awe and elation to being a participant in this tremendous partnership between two such inspirational institutions – Hazon and The Arava Institute. The magnificently managed ride is run by a combination of Hazon’s staff, and students, alumni and faculty from the Arava Institute. The […]
While most of the riders had two wheels under them, one very special cyclist had three. Kristi Wivagg completed the 2010 Israel Ride on her recumbent trike. You could tell Kristi was coming from a mile away, not only because of her super-bike, but also her beaming smile–especially after descending into Makhtesh Ramon at 42 mph! At Kibbutz Ketura, after our fourth day of riding, I sat down with Kristi to talk about her motivation for coming on the Ride and more. Tell us about yourself. I’m coming from Boston. I have a husband, a 23 year old daughter, Sara, and a 16 year old son, Jesse. During the school year I’m a teacher at LaSalle College teaching writing and speech and drama, but of course not this fall. (more…)
Roosevelt Island’s Doctor Jack Resnick is participating in his third 300-mile bicycle trek across Israel together with 130 other people. They are raising money to support the Arava Institute, an ecological educational institution in the Israeli desert that works to promote peace between Arabs and Jews. The Arava students are drawn from both populations and they spend a year living and studying together about protecting the environment. Doctor Resnick says that most importantly, the students learn how to live together.
All in all, I did 266 miles, on my bike every step of the way that they had us do. I saw every kind of desert Israel has to offer–flat, hilly, mountainous; red, white, black; vegetated, bare–as well as the Mediterranean and Red Seas. If I had to offer some kind of concluding sentiment, it would be awe at the human body–the splendid machine that it is, and the way it can be pushed to do what might have otherwise seemed impossible.
It’s been a remarkable three days of biking, and I write to you now from Mitzpe Ramon, where Eliana has joined me for Shabbat. Surprisingly, I am only a little bit sore. I think that, somehow, I have acquired the resilient bodyâ€”in addition to the faceâ€”of an 18-year old. I can only imagine that there must be an 18-year-old someplace who is stuck with the body of a 28-year-old…but I guess there’s not much I can do about that.
Friday was day three of the 2010 Israel Ride. One group rode 35 miles from Mashabei Sabe to Mitzpe Ramon, while another did the same with an additional 9-mile off road section on mountain bikes to Ein Akev, a desert spring. The group of the strongest cyclists rode 61 miles along the Egyptian border on an army patrol road. Apparently the Egyptian guards on the border were excited to see the parade of cyclists and waved at our men and women, serving as an unexpected source of encouragement. It was a challenging day for all, with many hills, all longer and steeper than we had yet encountered, standing between us and Mitzpe Ramon. With three days on the saddle, it was finally time to take one off and to celebrate Shabbat. (more…)
At any given rest stop, you’ll see riders splayed out on mats, rehydrating and munching on sweet and salty snacks–refueling, you might say. Look around, and you can literally see exhaustion…until suddenly, on the side, there’s a young woman hula hooping with just as much skill and ease as she rides a bike. Today we were both part of the Tzofim group, riding 70 miles (some of us averaging 14 mph!) from Ashkelon to Mashabei Sade in the northern Negev. Meet Chelsea! Tell us about yourself. I am a recent graduate of the Camassia Institute for Sustainable Communities where I received my Permaculture Design Certification. Currently I am consulting in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to provide the permaculture philosophy, dance, and nonviolent communication. I am also a singer/songwriter and brand new cyclist. The Israel Ride is my first multi-day ride! (more…)
A big part of this ride is the people. To be exact, we are 114 riders, a crew of alumni from the Arava Institute, mechanics, and incredible staff members from Hazon and the Arava Institute. Riders come from four countries–the US, Australia, Israel, and Canada 47 of the group are Israel Ride Alumni…while for 61 others, this is their first Hazon event We range in age from 12 to 74–with two young men celebrating their bar mitzvahs and three individuals older than 70 We are 83 men and 39 women 11 riders have never been to Israel before (more…)
Our journey began this morning at 6 am with the traditional Hazon Ride send-off of a shofar blast. 114 of us pedaled out of the parking lot of our hotel and through the not-quite-empty-enough streets of Jerusalem, passing important government buildings, The Israel Museum, and many confused Israelis. After speeding down some incredible downhills, we made it to our first pit stop, where two of our educators on the trip, Dr. Alon Tal, founder of the Arava Institute, and Bill Slott, a member of Kibbutz Ketura, shared stories of Jerusalem’s past and present with us. Bill explained that our journey from Jerusalem to Ashkelon was one between two ancient capitals–Jerusalem, the capital of the Israelites, and Ashkelon, the capital of the Philistines. Along the way would be the site of one of the most famous biblical stories, that of David and Goliath’s battle (Ha’Ela Valley). Talk about some old pavement…Alon told us of the city of Jerusalem’s goal to be the “cycling capital of Israel,” and the progress it has made on its light rail system. (more…)
The Israel Ride is a partnership between The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an environmental studies program in Israel, and Hazon, America’s largest Jewish environmental organization. Hazon does a ton of work around “food issues,” from our annual Food Conference to our network more than forty Community Supported Agriculture sites across North America–basically anywhere that Judaism and food intersect (which is practically everywhere), we talk about it. So, I would be remiss not to talk about my food experience in Israel so far. (more…)
The Western Wall is the remnant of Solomon’s Temple rebuilt by Herod before the exile in 70 C.E. It forms the edge of the Temple Mount – the site on which Jews believe Abraham was tested by God in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, and on which was the Holy of Holies – the inner-most sanctuary of the Temple, entered only once a year, on Yom Kippur, and only by the High Priest.