Reflections on New York Terror Attack, Israel Bike Ride and Beyond

The comments below were expressed in a letter by Nigel Savage, president and CEO of Hazon, an organization dedicated to building a more sustainable world within the Jewish community and beyond.

I rode into work, as I do many days of the year, on a beautiful bike path on a beautiful day. My organization, Hazon, worked quite hard for several years to increase the number of protected bike lanes in New York City. We’re proud of that work, and I sometimes say to people, “and the statistics show that protected bike lanes reduce fatalities and injuries, both for bike riders and pedestrians ….”

But of course those statistics didn’t allow for a day like Tuesday. A few hours after I rode in, a crazy guy — but not randomly crazy, a guy with ideological method to his murderousness — mowed down a bunch of people who happened to be on the bike path at that moment. As we know, eight of them never got up. I rode home an hour later, past the police and the barricades and the camera crews. And past two little kids — wee high, 3 feet tall if that — in cute white Star Wars stormtrooper outfits. “May the force be with all of us,” I thought. [Read more…]

Hazon Bike Rides Info Session: Cherry Hill, NJ

Want to learn how you can help create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community? Join us on for an Information Session about Hazon Bike Rides in Israel, the Berkshires, and more!  Hear about how bringing a Temple Beth Sholom Team to the New York Ride is a project of our Seal of Sustainability work and can earn us a mini-grant. Discover the joy of uniting cycling with Jewish values and learn about the crucial work that Hazon, and our own community, is doing to protect the environment.

This is an opportunity to meet with riders past, present, and future, including anyone interested in riding for a more sustainable Jewish community and a more sustainable world for all.

Click here to RSVP!

Looking to Bike Ride in Israel?

One of the Longest Biking Trails in Israel  Inaugurated at the Beautiful Ben Shemen Forest

— by Natalie Kahan-Behar

This trail is part of a biking trail project that Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael KKL-JNF has developed and invested more than one million NIS in.

Yesterday, December 26th, 2011 a new single rider biking trail was inaugurated in Ben Shemen Forest, 32 kilometers long, making it one of the longest biking trails in Israel.

More after the jump.
Over the past decade mountain bike riding has become a very popular sport which created a demand for biking trails in open spaces and forests. Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael KKL-JNF responded to the high demand as well as to willingness to preserve the forest. These trails are designed to encourage the public to ride through the trails safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.

The Ben Shemen biking trail is composed of two trails that pass through the western part of the Ben Shemen Forest and continue up to Modi’in Forest: The first trees that were ever planted in the Ben Shemen forest were in honor of Hertzel, hence the name of the trail. It is an intermediate 10 kilometers circular trail that begins and ends at Mitzpe Modi’in.

The trail goes through Ben Shemen’s ancient forest scenery, and passes by the oldest Cyprus Pine forest in Israel. After riding about 7 kilometers, the trail splits south and becomes Anava trail.  Anava is a 25 kilometer circular trail that begins and ends at Hertzel trail. Along the trail are historical and archeological sites such as Tel Gamzo and the Monks Valley. Throughout the trail there are lookout points to Modi’in city, Shefelah towns and the coastal plain. Together, the biking trails form one of the longest biking trails in Israel.

KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler at the bike trail inauguration ceremonyThe inauguration ceremony took place at the event site in Mitzpe Modi’in this morning, and was attended by KKL-JNF World Chairman, Efi Stenzler, Deputy Mayor of Modi’in, Michal Periferi, head of Hevel Modi’in Regional Council, Shimon Shushan, the trail planner, Otto Friedman and many more.

The trails were designed by the architect, Otto Friedman, whom specializes in riding and planning biking trails in parks. While the trail was being paved by KKL-JNF employees, the entire process was supervised by an authorized biking trail constructer, Doron Emetz.

According to KKL-JNF World Chairman, Efi Stenzler, “There is no better time than today, Channukah, Rosh Hodesh, to inaugurate this biking trail that runs through the ancient olive presses that probably produced the oil for the temple. We named the forest “Hertzel” in honor of the first forest KKL-JNF planted. KKL-JNF is 110 years old today and is focusing on the establishment of biking trails throughout Israel. I invite you to ride safely and enjoy the beautiful scenery.”

Ben Shemen Forest:

The Ben Shemen forest is a metropolis park located near the large urban area of Gush Dan. The forest has a wide open space for various recreational activities. Both Ben Shemen forest and Modi’in’s forests together create a 40 Dunam green region. KKL-JNF established dozens of recreational parks, winding roads, observation points and advanced infrastructure for the public’s convenience in the forest.

The optimum riding conditions in Ben Shemen forest allow different riding groups to enjoy the mostly flat forest, the great sequence of the undisturbed forest areas, the varied landscape roads, parking lots, observation spots and heritage sites that make the riding experience unique and enjoyable. Bike riders from all over Israel choose Ben Shemen forest as the most preferable destination for bike riding.

Photo credits: Yossi Zamir