Guest post by Martin Swim
[intro by Jon: As vulnerable cyclists on the road, we are deeply dependent on the kindness of our hosts, and no one has been more important to this trip than Joyce Breiner. Given our larger group this year, she suggested we stay at Am Kolel sanctuary retreat center. What an amazing place! I had met Rabbi Shneyer at Joyce’s house a few years ago and we immediately hit it off. He spent some time with us this morning explaining the relationship of human beings and the earth as told to us in the Genesis story.
Part of the point of this bike trip is to emphasize the “Interfaith” part of Interfaith Power & Light, to give our cyclists the opportunity to hear about what Caring for Creation means to Mennonites, Methodists, Muslims and Jews. Now, to Martin’s reflections!]
This was our Jewish day. We woke up in our clean, cozy beds, got up, a few things went wrong but we kept going.
Low points: We realized we had rusty chains from all the mud from the ride yesterday, we had one overnight flat, and one bent kickstand. We set off on our daily ride and within five minutes we had two dropped cycling gloves and one mis-shifted chain.
High points: We had two of our riders (thanks, Casey and Carina!) volunteer to prepare custom omelets for all the other riders, we were able to fix all the minor problems, the nice folks at the retreat let us borrow a bike to replace the one with the wrecked front wheel from the day before, and we were quickly ready for the days relatively short 40 mile ride.
We were sent off with a song and a blessing from Rabbi David Shneyer, director of the wonderful retreat we stayed at. Then we stopped at the Poolesville solar array, where Joyce Breiner gave us the history of getting a municipality on board with solar power.
Continuing the day’s theme, we had lunch at a synagogue hosted by Kathy Bloomfield, Executive Assistant & Program Coordinator at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, got a fantastic tour of the inside of the synagogue and the grounds surrounding it, including vegetable gardens, and a pollinating garden. We got a very educational talk, jokingly called Judaism 101, and beautiful send off from yet another very friendly Rabbi, Fred Scherlinder Dobb.
We ended in DC, and after taking the traditional photos in front of the Lincoln Memorial, we arrived at the Steinbruck Center hostel at Luther Place Memorial Church where we had large quantities of pizza, hosted by Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and heard about the life of the volunteers. After dinner, one contingent set off to watch a baseball game, while the rest carted all the luggage inside containing clothing for the meetings with our congressmen tomorrow, the reason we all cycled to D.C. Then, of course, some folks went to search for more food (!).
—Martin (and the rest of the cyclists)
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MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed