It’s Sunday – November 9, 2014

Hi again. It feels like I have been riding and writing about riding for weeks, but today is merely the fourth day on the bikes and ( with Shabbat) the fifth day of the Israel Ride. Today’s ride was the most pleasant and easiest 77 miles I can remember doing. The big hills weren’t so big, there was little wind, more downhills than uphills.  I averaged 15.7 mph, much better than previous days. We even stopped for goat cheese ice cream on the last leg; it was a treat but I doubt it will replace DQ Blizzards, which you must know are the most perfect food ever invented at least IMHO.

Our dozen Beth El riders are doing well. Just one broken finger and a few sore tooches. Our group is diverse. It has a mere four with law degrees, one real estate broker, one residential builder/developer, a biomedical researcher, an economist, a dentist, a commercial real estate investor, a construction corporation exec, a Jewish educator, and a rabbi. One has done multiple triathlons, three have done long AIDS ride, four did multiple centuries over the years,  some just started riding in the lead up to this. They can tell you about their Ride experiences. We are planning a reunion and a shirt. Commercial for next year to follow one day.

Being on Kibbutz Keturah for the overnight is a special treat for me. My first Israel experience was as a new college grad about to enter rabbi school who thought taking a summer working in a kibbutz might be a good thing to do. I still can’t think of a summer in my whole life that was close to that one in any meaningful way. The Hebrew immersion, the work in the fields with trees and irrigation, my adopted family, the character and values of the kibbutzniks, the touring of the land that first introduced me to its wonders, all changed my life in a lot of ways. Keturah is thriving; the spirit of community and building dreams is so palpable. I know the kibbutz idea is not for most people, but it represents something unique and inspiring in a world that is mostly full of people looking out for themselves.

Tomorrow we do the last 50-60 miles to Eilat, jump in the water, pack up the bikes, have our farewell dinner, and except for the lucky ones going on to Petra, begin thinking about life back home. I will write if there is what to say, otherwise an It’s Wednesday should be next.

For now, it is nice to have two places that feel like home.  Best,  Bill Rudolph