I am in Israel for my third Arava Institute – Hazon Israel Ride, this time part of a Beth El Bikers group of one dozen (which is likely a record from one shul in the 13 year history of the ride.) Tomorrow, Wednesday, we ride from Jerusalem to Beer Sheva. My rider group embarks at 6:15AM so the police can close off the road and not tie up rush hour traffic later in the morning. At that time here, most of you are cozily tucked in for the night there. We reach our destination in late afternoon, long after the usual 7:30AM appearance of It’s Wednesday. I didn’t want you to worry, so I am sending this out Tuesday evening while I have a good wifi signal, and hope to write again tomorrow night with more about the ride and a special detour we are taking on the first day.
The trip over was enough to give up travel. I drove up to JFK with my bike in the back seat, had to maneuver around the NYC Marathon which added an hour to the trip, and I forgot the EZPass transponder. The flight on El Al in coach was the usual overnight treat – men outfitted in black jockeying seats to avoid touching someone of the opposite gender, the usual screeching baby this time just one row up, not enough room in the seats and then the person in front reclines. I lack nothing, so I never minded not being wealthy, but a business or first class seat on an international flight is making more and more sense.
It is good to be in Jerusalem. The light rail is great. It has rained more in the last five days than all of last year and that is good. You don’t have to go far in this region to find trouble, even in Jerusalem of late, but there is always something magical about being here.
The support crew for the ride is students from the Arava Institute – more about that in a few days. They are Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians. They work hard, they work together. If only more settings for common endeavor existed, there might be better odds for people getting along in this neighborhood. For this brief moment, it is nice to see the potential.
Have a great Wednesday. Bill Rudolph