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Archive for October, 2012

Israel Ride 2012 – Day 1 Guest Post by Carol

Posted by rabbiart on October 31, 2012

Art and I both seem to be on Israel time thanks to the Jet Lag Diet (and some sleep aids for Art). We woke up at what we thought was 4 AM, but it turned out to be an hour later. Art had to hustle to get to breakfast and catch the bus. Why a bus? Because today’s ride required a 40 minute ride by bus just to get to the start. He’ll write about his day. My day started after breakfast and internet time. I loaded the car and used handwritten notes from Google maps to catch up with the riders. I reached the lunch stop and had only seen two crew members but not one rider along the way. I was nervous, but I was in the right place – just missed seeing their stop on top of a mountain. 

Because 20 riders (including Art) missed a turn, lunch was late, so the afternoon’s tour of Tel Dan was eliminated. Instead I rented a golf cart and joined the Shomrim (the riders who only ride in the morning) for a guided tour of Agamon HaHula. Agamon HaHula is a restored wetlands area in the Hula Valley. It is a bird watcher’s dream due to the number and variety of birds that migrate from the north to Africa for the winter (and it’s such a nice place for birds that many decide to stay for the winter instead of continuing to Africa). The guide told us about the history of the area, which included draining the wetlands (e.g. swamps), which seemed a good idea at the time would not be so regarded now. We also learned about how someone had the bright idea to introduce nutria (aka river rat) for its fur. Unfortunately some escaped, and they now have made themselves at home in the wetlands of Israel. We saw numerous nutria in and out of the water – they had absolutely no fear of us. The birds were spectacular – grey herons, white pelicans, kingfishers, cranes, and so many more. There was a moment when the sky was filled with what must have been thousands of birds at once – a gorgeous, memorable sight. The trip to Agamon HaHula reminded me why I love the ride – it is a chance to go to places Art and I would never think to go on our own. I was delighted to be asked if I would transport a few riders at the end of the day as they were short of spaces in the van. It was a chance to meet another new person and contribute in my small way. All in all, a very good first day.

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Shavei Tzion – we arrive, just barely in time

Posted by rabbiart on October 30, 2012

After a long night’s journey into night, we finally made it to the ride.  We flew from SFO to Munich, where the temperature was a cook no make that cold, 0 degrees Celsius.  Shuttle to the Novotel to sleep and back in the morning.  We had to wait outside for the shuttle bus, so we bundled up everything we could wear, because we weren’t planning to go somewhere where the cars were frosted with snow.  Uh… we were thinking  Negev desert, 85+ degrees, and well, you get the picture.  Or you will after it’s uploaded.  I had to miss a few minutes of the briefing, because it had already started before we arrived. Plus I had to step out to get a bike assembled with pedals and seat and odometer, because you really can’t ride without at least 2 out of the 3.  So  maybe they were trying to make me feel better, because the “last 15 minutes” stretched to 40 minutes long.

But we’re here, we’re excited and tomorrow we ride about 52 miles, with only about 2500 feet of climbing.  

60 riders in total, with two arriving in the middle of the night tonight, renting a car, and catching the ride just as well pull out, or maybe at the first rest stop. So even though we had to rebook, stay overnight in an airport, I didn’t even win the prize (ha! booby prize that is) for being the last to arrive.

Tomorrow promises to be a great day, with a stop at the biblical city of Dan, or what’s left of it today, a bird sanctuary tour, and I forget what else.

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A Letter from your son Abe

Posted by rabbiart on October 22, 2012

Terrific midrash by Rabbi Bruce Kadden on why Avraham Avinu left Haran for Canaan. It’s built on some traditional midrashim, but a wonderful twist.

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This time next week we’re on our way!

Posted by rabbiart on October 21, 2012

Many of my fellow riders are posting on Facebook that they are on the way to Israel. Or their bike is packed and can’t wait until Thursday (talking about you, Lester Blumberg). I’m about to get out my suitcase and start experimenting with taking biking gear and regular clothes all in one roll aboard and a backpack. Between it being only a 7 day trip and having my own support team (Hi Carol!) to do laundry in Mitzpe Ramon, plus rolling clothes instead of folding them, it should be do-able! This is the third time we are making this trip, and we’ve already decided to go again in 2013! Next year I’ll be considered a “frequent rider”. Like everyone else, I can’t wait to (as SmallBall says it) to gooooooooooooooooo! Have to mention SmallBall in this post, because of course I’m looking forward to my last ride in 2023, which I’m hoping will be Small Ball’s first.  Now its time to go make a copy of the Torah reading for Shabbes in Mitzpe Ramon, and start working on it.

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