As Bruce and I enter this new life phase of being "empty-nesters", we feel driven to push ourselves harder and work harder within our communities toward more environmentally sustainable practices. As one part of our commitment, I am asking for you to support my participation in the Israel Ride—the bike ride to support both the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon. These two organizations, rooted in a progressive vision of Judaism as a driver of action, activism, engagement with the larger world, and environmental leadership, blend the personal, the political, and the universal in ways that resonate for me. These organizations demonstrate that some of the seeds for a better world can be found in intersectional places that bring together people, peace, plants, and the planet – bridging across differences and across disciplines to build a community with the shared spiritual and practical tools needed to sustain our planet. I hope you’ll be inspired to help these two organizations with their work by sponsoring a portion of my ride and helping me to reach my $5000 fundraising goal.
The mission of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is to create a catalyst for peace by using the world’s environmental resource challenges to build dialogue, cooperation, and trust among people. As an environmental academic and research institute located on Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel, the Arava Institute is dedicated to training the next generation of environmental leaders—Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and students from around the world. By studying cutting-edge approaches to water resource management, ecology, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy, students at the Arava Institute learn to collaborate around their shared environmental concerns.
I lived on Kibbutz Ketura for a time in my 20s, so the Arava Institute has a special place in my heart. One Arava Institute program that resonates particularly for me and my own interests is the Track II Environmental Forum. The Forum aims to resolve critical environmental issues by bringing together people to build relationships, implement concrete cross-border projects, and lay the foundation of environmentally sound principles for peace. Examples of current projects being jointly developed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip include:• Building off-grid wastewater treatment and reuse solutions for small Palestinian agricultural communities in the Jordan Valley• Providing atmospheric water generation for small rural communities in Gaza• Establishing the Regional Center for Climate Change Adaptation, a cross-border team of Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian experts working together to understand the impact of climate change on the regionAdditionally, here is a link to a recent NY Times article about the Arava Institute’s work: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/15/world/middleeast/israelis-palestinians-tackle-gaza-problems.html?searchResultPosition=1
The second beneficiary of the Israel Ride is Hazon, one of most innovative organizations in the American Jewish community and now the largest Jewish environmental organization in the United States. Hazon is the Jewish lab for sustainability. They create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond. Through bike rides, food conferences, and other Jewish sustainability programs, Hazon brings people together, builds community, and promotes sustainability and vibrant Jewish life. You can learn more at www.hazon.org.
As part of our push to improve our individual environmental practices, Bruce and I have begun a journey toward becoming a zero-waste household and diminishing our carbon footprint. It has been challenging and illuminating to discover more and more ways we can live with less plastic. On the transportation side, training for the ride is pushing me to use my bike as a more regular form of transportation. This will be critical to my success on the ride from Jerusalem to Eilat in November. Once I’ve got all those miles under my belt, it will be less difficult for me to sustain the practice in my daily life. (Let me know if you want to go biking together!)
Thank you so much in advance for joining with me to support the Arava Institute and Hazon!
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