Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blog #3: Nashuva Shabbat - 5/14/10 - 7PM

Nashuva Shabbat
(this is not your zayda’s (grandfather’s) style of service!)
Friday, May 14, 2010, 7:00 PM[1]

We invite you to be part of a new, experimental Friday night service called Nashuva[2].Nashuva means, “We Will Return.”

We all have a need to return—to passion, to our dreams, to our essential goodness, to love, to our own souls, to our God. We spend so much time trying to succeed or to simply manage the chaos in our lives, that we rarely make the time to reflect and uncover our true possibility. Our souls are hungry for more. Nashuva is a haven from the hectic lives we lead. A place where we can leave behind our worries, receive the spiritual infusion we have been looking for, and emerge transformed. Nashuva is a time to pray, to sing, to be still and listen to the voice of your soul.
Nashuva is just beginning. We invite you to be part of its evolution and growth. If you have friends or family who you think would be interested in Nashuva, please extend this invitation to them. Indeed, we are specifically asking that you spread the news by word of mouth to those in the greater community who are unaffiliated, who think a Shabbat service is not for them, who don’t think they can find spirituality in Judaism, and to anyone you think should check this service out.

Here is what you can expect to experience, if you allow yourself to do so. It will be a spiritually uplifting service featuring the Nashuva Band led by Cantor Nadel and guest vocalists. The service will include before the recitation of the Shema a guided meditation focusing on the Shema led by myself.

A note to parents: As always, children are very welcome in our sanctuary (do you know we keep a rack of children’s books in the back of the sanctuary?). However, for this service we will be offering childcare for children ages 2-4 and a children’s service for ages 5 and up. Please make use of our children’s programs so that you can enter the sanctuary and find a place to nourish your own soul and talk to God from the very depths of your being. Of course, if you prefer, your children are welcome to stay with you in the sanctuary. If you do desire to utilize the childcare, we do need to know in order provide proper supervision; please contact the temple office - – (973) 376-0539 x11.

In addition we urge you to please dress casually, feel comfortable. And, following services there will be an Oneg Shabbat —food and drink -- to celebrate the joy of Shabbat
[2] Nashuva concept service created by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Thursday, March 18, 2010

History of the RidinRebbe Moniker

Shalom to all:
I thought it would be nice in this my first official blog to explain the background of my email moniker, RidinRebbe.
It dates way back to when I first established my AOL account. In the old days, screen names could be no longer than 10 characters. I wanted to incorporate in my screen name two important passions in my life, my rabbinate and my bicycling. Hence, “Ridin” for my bicycling and “Rebbe,” this means teacher & rabbi, for my rabbinate. However, being limited to 10 characters, I had to sacrifice the “g” in the word “riding.”
Bicycling has been an extremely important facet of my life since 1985. I had been a runner, but after completing the 1984 Marine Corp Marathon, Washington, DC, I suffered a stress injury to my left heal and had to stop running for an extended period of time. A good friend suggested that I try cycling during my recovery period. So, spring of 1985, I got back on a bicycle the first time since I was 12 years-old. Over the last 25 years, except for a 2 year period from 1988 – 1990 when I suffered a major cycling accident with multiple fractures and other injuries, I became an avid cyclist.
As a result of the 1988 accident, I had to change the type of bicycle that I rode. I used to ride a beautiful Bianchi celeste green road bike; it was totaled in the accident. However, due to the injuries to my upper back, I could no longer maintain comfortably the drop position on the road bike bars. I then went to the more upright bar configuration of a hybrid-bike (somewhere between a road bike & a mountain bike is a hybrid). I was able to return to riding, but after a moderate ride of 20 – 25 miles, I was in severe discomfort from the pounding of the road. Another friend then suggested that I try a recumbent bicycle; he said it was like “riding a rocket-powered lawn chair on two wheels.” He was right, and I bought my first recumbent in 1993, a P-38 Lightening built by Tim Brummer of Lightening Cycle Dynamics, Lompoc, CA. Tim is a former aeronautics engineer who became a builder or recumbent bikes and he names each of his bikes after airplanes. My current configuration is the F-40, which is a fully-faired recumbent (all you see is my head). The fully-faired configuration gives greatly improved aerodynamics, which translates into great speed.
There is one major disadvantage to a recumbent, mainly the ability to climb hills. I am unable to come off the saddle/seat and stand up to attack a hill, therefore, I need to drop gears and maintain cadence. Most riders of road bikes can easily beat me up a hill, but wow, coming down, I blow right past them.
My general schedule for riding is short lunch time rides during the week, except on Mondays, which is my day off when I will do much longer distances, up to 100 – 120 miles during the peak riding season. I will also try to get a moderate ride in on Sunday afternoons, schedule permitting. During the prime riding season, late spring through October, I will ride, weather & schedule permitting, 6 days a week. During the winter, I consider myself blessed if I can ride outside 1 – 3 days a week. The only day I never ride is Shabbat – my legs do need a true day of rest!
My greatest accomplishment as a cyclist was to do a cross-country ride during the summer of 2004; it was done as a charitable fundraiser. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only rabbi to have ever done so, if not the only clergy person (do so while in the clergy). Perhaps more on that great adventure in a future blog…
I cycle for many reasons and cardio is a prime one (not to brag, but my resting pulse is in the low 40’s). It is also my only method of weight control. My only real vice is eating; I have a sweet tooth. With the amount that I ride, I should be 30lbs lighter! I also ride for psychological purposes. The ride becomes my self-therapy, my release and my time for free-flowing thoughts. I also channel competitive, type-A behavior traits in to a safe outlet through cycling. I am often asked, what do I think about when I ride. Like my most cyclists, thoughts tend to be focused on the ride itself: the course, terrain, weather, pace, how the legs feel, etc. And, there is ample opportunity for my thoughts to turn to other matters. I often develop sermonic or programmatic ideas. One of my prime sources for inspiration often comes from billboards that I pass at much slower rate of speed than when traveling by car. For example, during yesterdays lunch time ride (I’m so glad the weather has improved, I have to force myself to go to the gym during the harsher winter days), I began to develop some thoughts about this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, the beginning of the Book of Leviticus. To learn more about these thoughts, I invite you to join me for Shabbat morning services, this Saturday, March 20th, at 9:30 AM, Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ. And, if you are so inclined, I lead a pre-Shabbat service guided meditation at 8:55 AM, and you are welcome to stay for the Kiddush luncheon that follows the service.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Now Blogging

Shalom to all:
Upon good advice, I've started a blog: Riding Through Life With The RidinRebbe.
More to eventually come!