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December 29, 2006

A Rabbi and His Wife Went Bicycling

I know, I know... it sounds like the opening line of an act at The Laugh Factory. ;-D

But I'm serious. ;-D

This morning I received an e-mail:

Dear Kiril,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog each day. Partly because of this and other blogs and because of my infatuation with riding I have started my own blog called Bicycle Musings and would love to ask you to take a look when you have a chance and let me know what you think.


Ira F. Stone

No not THAT I. F. Stone! He's Dead! ;-D

This one is, well, let HIM explain:

I am a 58 year old Conservative Rabbi, published theologian and professor of Jewish Philosophy. I have also published two books of poetry and have recently become an avid cyclist along with my wife of 37 years.

I love it!

Now I am the 1st to confess ignorance about Jewish Custom, much less Conservative Jewish Custom, but still the 1st image that popped into my head, and made me laugh was of the good Rabbi pedaling off to Synagogue in full church going regalia ( Whatever it may be! ), hee, hee. ;-D

One look at his photo, though, and a reading of his 1st 2 posts, gave me to realize that the BikeBlog Community has itself an intriguing new voice joining it this week.

His e-mail included this quote:

The bicycle, surely the bicycle, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.

Christopher Morely

So... how DOES a Rabbi become a Bicyclist, and a BikeBlogger, as well, anyway?

From his 1st Post:

Back in May of 2006 my wife an I went for a Sabbath walk from our Center City Philadelphia townhouse up to the Schuylkill River Park. This beautiful multi-use trail was recently extended down near to our home. It goes from there to Valley Forge National Park. We sat on a bench that Saturday afternoon and over the course of the hour or so we were there a wide variety of bicyclists rode past us from fully outfitted folks who looked like they belonged at the Tour de'France, to elderly couples on old coasters (a term we didn't know them.) I remarked to my wife that bicycling looked like fun and after a brief discussion in which she agreed, indicated she'd like to try it too and that we'd never really developed a hobby together despite my attempts to get her to play golf and her attempts to get me to enjoy dancing, we decided bike riding might be the thing. So I began to visit bike stores and search on the internet for information.

Read the rest of it to see where it leads. ;-D

His 2nd post discusses a bike he recently bought and, unlike some posts onthe subject of new bikes, and their trial runs, is quite interesting reading.

Being new to Blogging he has things to master, such as post titles, and setting up the comments so non-Blogspotters can comment, and thus show him a better idea of the nature of his growing audience, but this is a fine start.

Welcome to the BikeBlog Community, Ira, and Bicycle Musings!

December 29, 2006 in Blogging Cyclists | Permalink


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That's pretty cool.

Posted by: Fritz | Dec 29, 2006 11:37:52 PM

Actually, he wouldn't ride on the sabbath; it's considered work.

But thanks for promoting another member of the tribe!

In the bike world, that makes you a Righteous Gentile cyclist!


Posted by: da' Square Wheelman | Dec 30, 2006 12:42:41 PM

I'll be adding that designation in the Sidebar, hee, hee. ;-D

As for Riding on the Sabbath I DO have a question about that:

In a certain section of Los Angeles, Miami, New York, other US cities, and around the world, there is something called an ERUV.

A few months ago there was a big uproar in Santa Monica as the Jewish Community wanted to set one up near the beach.

The idea of this "Zone", from what I understand is this:

"An Eruv District is a symbolic zone established in King Solomon's time wherein Observant Jews are permitted to carry items such as food from one home to another, keys, medicines or in modern times; push a baby stroller or a wheelchair."

In some places it is used very sparingly, and others it is used a lot and, and a friend of a friend tells me that it doesn't include bicycles, cell phones or other such modern convieninces and that Orthodox Jews eschew the custom as lax.

Here is a wonderfully informative website on the subject:

eRUV: A Street History in Semacode.

It has links to other sources of info on the subject as well.

This "freedom" that the Zone allows is what provided me with the image of the Rabbi, in full regalia, pedalling down the road. ;-D

So I'm curious whether Bicycling would truly be a naughty, on the Sabbath, or other Holy Days, within such a zone?

Wouldn't riding your bike be ok as long as you don't pick it up, and carry it?? ( Hee, hee! )

Posted by: Kiril, The Cycling Dude | Jan 2, 2007 12:39:17 PM

The eruv would solve half of the problems regarding riding on the Sabbath.

Without an eruv it would be considered both "carrying" and "violating the Sabbath boundary."

But even if the eruv solved those problems, the problem of "lest one fix something" would remain, that is, we are not permitted to engage in activities that might tempt us to fix something that broke in order to complete the activity, since fixing or creating anew are forbidden on the Sabbath.

So we don't play musical instruments, in part, because if, say, a guitar string broke one might be tempted to fix it.

With a bike the most obvious cuplprits would be either a flat or a chaim coming off.

So I do not ride on Sabbath.

Posted by: Ira Stone | Jan 2, 2007 7:46:36 PM

As a Sabbath keeper I find most of this conversation strange and quite one-sided.

The Bible originally admonishes to "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy..." And reading further, Moses reminds us not to do "Any Work".

As a Christian that is also a Sabbath keeper I would not go so far as to say riding a bike was "Work" and even if I had a flat, I could always walk home.

(Remembering what Christ told the blind man to do on the Sabbath) He(Christ) is MY example when it comes to living on the Sabbath, I don't need "2000 rules" on how to keep The Sabbath Holy.

Posted by: Arden Clarke | Jan 16, 2008 5:41:46 PM

I'll dive in just for the fun of it.

I don't ride a bike because my balance is terrible.

I do live within an eruv.

The people who built and maintain the eruv are totally the Orthodox community.

It allows folks to carry food next door and push the stroller to services.

It's not there to allow what you would not be doing within your own house.

PS: I'm Conservative, a Jew by choice, therefore extra observant.

Posted by: Leslie Mehana | Sep 23, 2009 9:15:31 PM

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