The People of the Bike Redux

A version of this email was due to go out on Thursday evening. But 85 people were murdered in Nice that evening, so we decided to hold off until this morning. Over the weekend – as we know – an attempted coup killed more than 260 people in Turkey and then yesterday three police officers were murdered in Baton Rouge.

In my email three weeks ago, post-Brexit, which clearly hit a chord with many people, I ended by noting the huge gap between the challenges we face, and the tools we feel we have – individually – to make a difference.

It’s against this backdrop that I want to talk about the evolution of Hazon’s Rides, and I want to try to place them in a wider context. Because the gap is huge, and/but, paraphrasing Edmund Burke, it must be the case that our response to evil is to strive to do good, in all the multiple ways that we can.

I learned from Anna Hanau, many years ago, a line I like very much. “You know you’re on the right track,” she said, “when your solution to one problem solves a bunch of other problems too.”

That goes to the heart of the multiple goals of the Rides. How do we make a difference in the world, at a difficult moment? How do we strengthen and renew Jewish life? How do we connect to Israel in thoughtful and serious ways? Is it possible to help to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians? And – from a different perspective – given that each of us has finite money and never enough time, is there a way to do any or all of these things that might be really enjoyable?

That’s the frame for the Rides. If you sign up for one of our Rides: we hope you’ll spend time with old friends (or bring them with you) and make new ones. We hope you’ll get in better shape. We hope you’ll get to celebrate Shabbat in a joyous and inspiring community of peers. And the money that you’ll raise makes an enormous difference. Ride monies fueled the growth of Hazon. We’ve given away over $800k in mini-grants. We’ve become the largest unrestricted stream of funding for the Arava Institute in Israel.

So here are few invitations:

  • If you don’t yet have plans for Labor Day weekend this year, please join us for our NY Ride and Retreat. (This year we’re beginning and ending at Isabella Freedman, so a/ there’s a beautiful new second day route, and b/ it’s even more convenient for people from Boston and Hartford!)
  • If it’s been your dream to see Israel from the seat of your bicycle, make 2016 or 2017 the year it happens! Sign up for the Israel Ride!
  • If a longer ride weekend is not currently in your future, join us for one of our free Tribe Rides in DC, NJ, Stony Brook or NYC
  • If you’re interested in bringing teams to any of our Rides, or developing a fun ride in your community; or if you’d like to become a Ride sponsor; or if you’d like to support younger or first-time riders; or if you’d like to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah (or a big round birthday) at any of our Rides, please  be in touch with Miriam Leichtling, Director of our Rides, at (Memo: anyone who proposes to their partner at one of our Rides gets lifetime free registration. Two couples have already taken us up on this…)
  • If you’d like to be involved in our first-ever CA Ride in San Diego and Encinitas in 2017, be in touch with or .
  • If you have a leadership role in a Jewish institution, start to think about adding bike racks to your parking, and showers for participants – so people can ride to school or synagogue, park their bike and take a shower.
  • If you want to pitch in more broadly, get involved with Transportation Alternatives (in NY), TransForm (in CA), or Yisrael Bishvil Ofanayim (in Israel).

Hazon started with a bike ride. Today we have many other programs, but the bike rides remain at the heart of our work. They embody our values. They’re good for people individually. They strengthen community. They make a difference in the world. And they’re really fun.

6 weeks from Friday is the start of our 16th annual New York Ride. 16 weeks from tomorrow it’s the start of our 14th annual Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride.  Thank you to the more than 3,000 of you who have participated in one of our Rides, and the more than 20,000 of you who have sponsored people in those Rides. This seems as good a moment as any to reflect on the Rides – and to invite you to get involved in the future.

There are so many ways to get outside, get involved and make a difference. Your participation makes a difference, and everyone’s participation counts. Won’t you join us?