I’m pleased to be able to come back, help organize, and ride again for the PA IPL Philadelphia to Washington, DC bike ride! I do see bike riding not only as a way to try to stay healthy but also as an important awareness practice around reducing one’s carbon footprint in the world.
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 how small actions could help cultivate hope.
I try to carry that awareness in my work as a rabbi, where I seek to integrate environmental practice (biking, composting, recycling) as part of a daily “mitzvah” practice of living out my Jewish values. I know it can be easy to get discouraged about the direction we are headed with a warming planet, but I think that’s why it’s even more important to continue to take steps not only in our personal lives but also to try to influence national policy. I appreciate how the PA IPL bike ride touches both of these.
Finally, I’m excited for the many connections I hope to build on this ride with riders, communities we meet along the way, and with our legislators. It reminds me that, at heart, building relationships can be a step to healing the world.As we say in our tradition when we finish a book from the Torah, “May we all go from strength to strength!”