Make a Fixed Time for Study

עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

Israel Bike Ride 2010 – Reflections

Posted by rabbiart on October 27, 2010

I’m picturing a fenced in open field which has been graded in preparation for the installation of enough solar collectors to fill (If I remember correctly) 45 acres.  The field is just on the south edge of Kibbutz Keturah.  When up and running, it will supply all the electricity to power Keturah and a number of adjacent kibbutzim that have signed on to the project.  Eventually it will be followed by a much larger installation that will generate enough electricity to power the entire city of Eilat.  No oil required. No coal required.  No air polluted.

As Carol has remarked several times in conversation, Kibbutz Keturah is an unusual and fascinating combination of the collective operation and the entrepreneurial spirit.  All of the revenue generated by members goes into a common account and is parceled out kibbutz old style (to the best of my knowledge).  But the individual members, and combinations thereof, are involved in a number of ground-breaking (sometimes metaphorical and sometimes literal) projects.  3 new types of solar panels are being tested out, and if any one of them makes a successful breakthrough, there will be technology to license.

I’m also picturing the ancient city of Petra, where the Nabateans had their own commercially successful technological advantage – water management.  They, like the Romans, mastered the techniques required to build aquaducts to carry water over long distances with amazing precision for so-called primitive people.  Today we went to Qesarya, yet another city occupied over 2,000 years by a variety of peoples and rulers, and saw the remains of the Roman-built acquaduct.

And I’m also picturing our friend Mousa Diabat, Palestinian Israeli and Arava Institute alumni who is doing a Ph.D. in water management nine hours up the road from us at Oregon State.  Water, even more than food, is one of the few things human beings cannot do with0ut. An increasing share of water in Israel is coming from desalination, and it may be that abundant water removes one of the bones of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.  We talked with Mousa via Skype earlier this evening and are making plans to see him – and hopefully Jehan and Aseel – in December when Mousa comes to attend a professional conference in San Francisco.

Sometimes you run into the same people over and over on the ride, and after the ride as well.  So I’m also picturing Kristi Wivaqq, who walks with a cane but rides with an unquenchable spirit in spite of her disability.  She made the trip to Petra, and rode a camel, and the smile on her face when she got off the camel would have lit up the entire site at night.

We’ve also decided, or our spirits decided for us, to set the goal of returning in 2012 for yet another bike ride.  Hopefully, Carol will find out that she can ride a recumbent bike, and we can do the ride together on a tandem recumbent.  Maybe one with three or four wheels, so we can zoom the downhills without excessive risk, yertza ha shem and insh’allah.



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