by Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel,
This coming March 2010, for the seventh year in a row, I will once again be privileged to participate in the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's (IMPJ) Riding4Reform bike ride to raise much needed funds for their programs across Israel. (Canada might have the smallest number of participants on the ride, but every year, we raise the most funds out of everyone! All the funds go to support the Reform Movement in Israel). I will participate on the ride with my Team ARZA Canada friends: Adam Roberts and Paul Leszner (Temple Emanu-El, Toronto. We hope to encourage other Canadians to join us as well. In past years, we have been joined by fellow Canadians, Dr. Harvey Zimmerman, Sandra Montague (both from Temple Sinai, Toronto), Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg and Dr. Frederick Mikelberg (both from Temple Sholom, Vancouver), Dr. Elliot Goldenberg and Ada Sinacore (Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal).
This is a 5-day adventure that will start at the northernmost border of Israel, along the Good Fence. The views and scenery are always breathtaking. It is one of the best ways to truly get to see and know the Land of Israel. Every year, the route is different – I feel as if I have cycled over much of Israel on a bike and have become intimately familiar with the desert, the mountains, the wadis, the orchards, the rocks, the streams, the villages ina way that I have not had the opportunity previously.
One of the additional goals for the ride, along with fundraising, is to meet with Reform communities across Israel to strengthen our partnerships with them.
We are always joined on the ride by young future leaders of the Israeli Reform movement: participants in the Mechina program (prepatory) program. These are young adults who are in between high school and the army who take a year to study and do volunteer work and learn how to become better community leaders. They often lead one of our evening programs was led by them, as they explain to us the nature of what they do and why they choose to participate in this type of program for which they receive no army or university credit--just life experience.
The ride is a wonderful way to see and experience Israel like you have never seen it before. It's a wonderful way to make new friends and to get to know the Israeli Reform Movement, its struggles, hopes and dreams in a much more in-depth way. And as one of our riders, Michael Loftus, (from our Reform congregation in Mevasseret Zion) says: Riding for charity meant that by the end of the week, every part of the body is engaged, from the eyes to the thighs, and most importantly, the heart.
We hope you will want to engage your heart, soul, body and mind and join us on this fabulous adventure! It will be the experience of a lifetime!
Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
If you love cycling and if you love Israel (or would like to get to know Israel better!), I hope you will consider joining us this coming March! For more information about Riding4Reform, visit the Riding4Reform website.