The above video is promoting a great experience for a great cause. Israel Ride is a 5-day bicycle tour across Israel, gathering international participants (many from the United States), for communal riding, exploration, bonding, Jewish education and raising awareness for some very important issues. The tour will take place in late October 2015, and the promoters of Israel Ride are encouraging would-be participants to join up and register.
The purpose of Israel Ride, in addition to giving the participants a chance to experience the place in a unique and vivid way, is to raise funds for two Israeli nonprofits, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon, which seeks to promote sustainable communities in Israel and advance environmental values consistent with the Jewish outlook. I became interested in Hazon because as my progression into the Jewish faith continues, I’m increasingly seeing environmental issues such as climate change in religious terms. So do the people at Hazon. It’s worth noting that both of these causes promote not only environmental responsibility and values, but also interpersonal connections between Israelis and Palestinians that promote peace in the Middle East. You can’t have a sustainable community that’s at war with its neighbors. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies promotes cross-cultural learning, and one of Israel Ride’s objectives is to raise scholarship money for students, many of whom are Palestinians or from the Arab states neighboring Israel. There’s no better way to work for peace, in my view, than developing personal relationships across political, religious and cultural divides.
I’m not affiliated with Arava or Hazon, but when I saw this video I decided it was something I could definitely get behind. I’m not even a bike rider, but if you are and would like to look more into this wonderful experience, go to this link to learn more. Shalom!