It’s Thursday – November 6, 2014

Shalom.  Today was day two of the Israel Ride. We embarked from the outskirts of Beer Sheva, every group starting with 15 miles of steady uphills that were a real challenge. I have 30 gears on my road bike and I could have used 5 more. Then we went off in different directions for rides up to 85 miles. I got in 70 but couldn’t do the perpendicular hill at the 67 mile mark unless my life depended on it and then most of us ran out of time to do the last piece ( permits end at 4 PM each day.) I looked up at the hill, glanced at my old knees, realized my tank was out of gas, thought of what Gail would want me to do, and took the bus to the top. Why do I feel guilty?

Tomorrow we ride towards Mitzpeh Ramon where we spend Shabbat, a day of rest and prayer and community that beautifully breaks up the ride. I hope to write before Shabbat if we make good time, which I succeeded in doing last year but it was still DST and this year candle lighting is at 4:17.

Tonight’s roommate, in a kibbutz guest house,  is in real estate in a California college town. Differnent kind of guy. Before and during dinner we have talked over an hour and a half; I have learned so much about him. He has yet to ask me what I do or anything about my life. Do you know anyone like that?

People have written asking me how I find the time and energy to do these postings. Truth is when you are on a bike seat for five hours, you have time to think. For me, figuring out how to convey the ride experience and the inspiring reality that is Israel despite ( or because of) the awesome challenges it faces, is the easily the best way to use the time.

I hope to write before Shabbat, but if not, then I wish you Shabbat Shalom from Israel, not the only place to keep Shabbat but the only place where it is part of the rhythm and rhyme of the Jewish experience going back to the patriarchs, whose footsteps we are always crossing.  Best,  Bill Rudolph