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Jews on Bikes

Hazon Bike Ride to Combat Hunger

WESTERN MASS. – Over Labor Day weekend, more than 200 cyclists, ride crew, and participants will meet at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.  to participate in a two-day Shabbat retreat and two-day bike ride cycling through Western Massachsetts with Great Barrington as a major rest stop for the group, with the ride ending in Manhattan.

This ride is organized by Hazon, one of the leading faith-based environmental organizations in the country and a driving force behind the growth of the Jewish Food Movement.  Founded in 2000 with a cross-country ride, Hazon aims to touch people’s lives directly; by building and strengthening institutions that create healthier, richer, and more sustainable Jewish communities. “The New York Ride is Hazon’s longest-running event,” explains Nigel Savage, Hazon’s founder and Executive Director, “Every year we bring together an amazing community and the inspiration of the weekend last all year round.  Programs are hands-on and engaging – goat milking, pickle making, yoga – and the ride itself is an amazing example of the Jewish community standing up to show support for environmental sustainability, healthy food and alternative transportation.”

Now in its 13 year, the ride has raised over 2.5 million dollars to support healthy & sustainable food systems, and $120,000 this year alone.  The ride traverses country roads and rail trails, some hills, beautiful views of various water falls throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. On the second day of riding, the road is fully paved and almost fully separated from cars.  Riders will be coming from 17 states; range from age 12 to 72, and come from a range of Jewish backgrounds and affiliations.  Non-Jews also participate.

A 2011 rider describes her experience, “Our children ‘got it,’ as we brought three generations together to promote Jewish inclusiveness, Jewish continuity and global sustainability. Oh, and by the way, the personal pride achieved by our two sons as they completed riding 100 miles over two days, taught them a lesson about setting high personal expectations, training and achieving, that no classroom experience can match.”

Over Shabbat, the riders will experience the Adamah Farm at Camp Isabella Freedman, including their new baby goats, yoga, and many hiking trails. Additionally, there will be a keynote address made by Ruth Messinger, a past Manhattan Borough President and current director of the American Jewish World Service. The Ride ends at the Jewish Theological Seminary at 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. r 3 with a celebration in the courtyard – the public is invited.

For information about the ride and to sponsor riders: www.hazon.org/nyride 


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