Meet Rabbi Nathan Martin, eighth in the 2018 series of rider profiles (Nathan also serves as Secretary of PA IPL’s Board of Directors). Get to know the riders for the PA to DC rides as the series unfolds, then follow the trips! Learn more. Donate.
What drew me to pedal nearly 200 miles for PA IPL? Here are a couple of vignettes:
* In my mid-20’s when I was living in Berkeley, California, I was first introduced to the idea of using one’s bicycle as their “car.” My housemate, an energy efficiency engineer and bike enthusiast, would not only ride his bike to work everyday — a good climb – but then would continue after work by bike for his shopping and social life events too. When he started dating his soon-to-be wife, they even bought a tandem bicycle so that they could continue the adventure! Being able to see someone live with and use their bicycle on a daily basis was eye opening and showed me the possibility about a way that one could reduce their footprint on the planet.
* The year I started rabbinical school in 2001 I heard about an organization called Hazon (meaning “vision” in Hebrew) that was gathering environmentally oriented Jews to bicycle from Connecticut to New York City and a special ride aptly named “People of the Bike.” I remember that on route, during our first day of the ride, it was the Jewish festival of Sukkoth, a time where we especially take notice of our connections with the outside world. I will never forget pulling into a campus in Nyack, NY and having the bikers gather together in their bike clothes, put on their prayer shawls, and begin reciting special Hallel prayers (songs of gratitude and joy — from the word Hallelujah) in honor of the holiday. Knowing that there were other people like me who also found being on the bike, living out their environmental values, and having this integrate with their religious practice was also a transformative moment. I have since done that ride several more times and continue to be energized each time I do so.
After working in the environmental field as an energy efficiency research (2001-2009) and continuing to stay connected to environmental issues since becoming a rabbi, I am under no illusion that we will be able to change our “global scorching” (per R. Arthur Waskow) course anytime soon. Like others who are trying to stay energized to be positive agents of change, we need to nourish and fortify ourselves for the long-term in this work.
Having the opportunity to get on the bike with colleagues who care and to use my voice in a lobbying effort is an important way of noticing how we can make a difference and what we does matters. I’m pleased to be part of the effort!
Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)
to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,