Make a Fixed Time for Study

עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Arava Institute Happenings

Posted by rabbiart on January 30, 2009

Last night I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Michael Beyth, the current Board of Directors chairman of the Arava Institute at the home of Eric and Danielle Berzon. Eric and Danielle were one of the five couples who originally founded Kibbutz Ketura (where the Arava Institute is hosted) back in 1970.  Another of the founding couples was there as well. There were also two alums, Moriah Cohen and Maya Negev (2004-5). (I can put their names here because they were kind enough to write them down for me.)

By the way, I had asked Moriah and Maya to share their thoughts with me, and this just came in via email from Maya , “after living together at the Arava Institute, we, the alumni, know no borders. (this is what we always learn about the environment, and it is true also for people). During the war, Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian American and European Alumni are in touch by mail, phone and meetings, caring about each other and mourning together. Just like in other families, also in the Arava family when we don’t agree, we still listen and understand. Each in his or her own unique ways, we keep working for green peace in the Middle East”.

Hearing from Dr. Beyth was fascinating; he has been involved in many important projects in Israel, including the not-yet-started but long discussed canal from the Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea) to the Dead Sea.  It took me a few mentions to figure out what he was talking about, as everyone else sitting at the table (small group) was saying the “Red-Dead” project.  Dr. Beyth said the idea dates back at least until 1840. (that is not a typo)  Things sure move fast in that area of the world <rueful grin>.  Peace must be right around the corner (we should live so long!)

As readers probably know, the Dead Sea is rapidly shrinking because most of its historical flow (from the Jordan River) is diverted for agricultural and drinking water.  The Red-Dead (got it now!) project would include a massive desalination effort as well, so it’s a lot more than just filling the Dead Sea so tourists can float in the salt water. (which, by the way, is quite an experience; you really do float at the top of the water).

The ‘Friends of the Arava Institute” trustees are getting more involved in recruiting  bike riders for the ride. (this means you!). They are also looking at creative methods of fund-raising that might be (oh… maybe I’m not supposed to talk about those yet).  As you might guess, I volunteered to help any way I can. It looks like after 2009 the primary, perhaps only ride, will be November, so I won’t be getting a chance to challenge the Negev heat in a May ride.   (Of course if you’ve just won the lottery and want to sponsor me 100% for the ride in May, I’ll go… uh.. I’m not holding my breath for that one).

In my fantasy (well, one of them), we have a big team from the Bay Area; a bunch of people from Temple Beth Abraham, and at least one rider from every shul in the Bay Area.  Interested? call me, or comment herein and I’ll call you).

What does this have to do with Torah study? You might be wondering.  Tikkun Olam b’malchut Shaddai says it all.

Just think – you could have your picture – in an Israel Bike Ride jersey, right here.


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