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Friday, May 27, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Ride

The night between June 22nd and June 23rd is traditionally called Midsummer's Eve. 
 
To mark my 50th birthday (which falls on June 23rd), I've decided to take a nice long ride on my scooter.  A really loooong ride!  I'll be calling it my 'Midsummer Night's Dream Ride'.
 
Starting a few hours before sunset on June 22nd, I'll be leaving home and heading to Jerusalem before getting on highway 443.  443 loops around to intersect Route 6 near Judah Maccabees's old stomping grounds of Modi'in.  From there I will start heading south for the long stretch towards Israel's southernmost spot; the Red Sea port of Eilat.
 
Once I reach Eilat I'll turn around and head back north again, this time following the spectacular desert road along the dead sea, and up through the Jordan river valley.   When I reach the Sea of Galilee, I'll loop around to the east of this shining jewel of a lake, through the foothills of the Golan Heights... and ending up in Metulla at the Lebanese border.
 
From Metulla, I'll head south-west towards Haifa on the Mediteranean Sea; from there picking up Route 6 at it's northernmost point... riding south again, past Tel Aviv... Beer Sheva... all the way down to Eilat once more.
 
With the home-stretch now in sight, I'll ride back north through the Arava and Negev Desert towards the fertile Elah Valley, where David defeated Goliath... and finally, home to Efrat in the beautiful Judean hills sometime mid-to-late afternoon on my birthday.
 
When I finish my Midsummer Night's Dream Ride I will (hopefully) have travelled a little more than 1000 miles (1600km) total in a little under 24 hours.
 
And what will I have to show for this little stunt (besides a sore rear end)?  I'll have hopefully raised enough money to help the Efrat Emergency Medical Center open the doors to its new Radiology Center!
 
Now historically, there have been roughly as many foolish fundraising stunts (think flagpole sitting, marathon dancing, eyebrow shaving, naked car washes, bed races, disgusting food eating and bathtub regattas), as fools willing to undertake them.  
 
But no foolish fundraising stunt is worth the efforts of even the most enthusiastic fool without sympathetic friends and supporters willing to make donations towards a worthy cause.
 
That's where you come in.
 
A lot of people are under the impression that big projects are the exclusive domain of big donors.  And while this may be true in a limited sense... it ignores the incredible potential for good that can come from a large group of small donors acting in concert. 
 
I like to think of this as the 'rent party' model of philanthropy.
 
The idea of the rent party dates back to the 1920s in Harlem.  People would throw a pot-luck party with music, food and lots of friends, and then pass the hat to raise rent money for someone who was having a tough time making ends meet that month (otherwise known as 'the worthy cause'). 
 
The rationale was that even though few, if any, of the people at the party were well heeled enough to make a difference on their own... by acting together, they could achieve lofty goals far beyond their individual abilities.
 
So when faced with a pressing need, these long ago Harlemites did something counter-intuitive... they threw a party.  And at the party, people who only had a little tossed in what they wouldn't miss... and everyone had a good time knowing that nearly anything was possible given the concerted efforts of a committed group of caring individuals.
 
The Efrat Emergency Medical Center was opened in a couple of caravans during the last Intifada in response to the sobering reality that thousands of people could too easily be cut off from medical care by a few stone throwers, or even a minor traffic accident, on the single main road leading to Jerusalem.
 
But the local medical professionals who came up with a plan for meeting the medical needs of this huge population also knew that a stand-alone Emergency Room would be financially unsustainable. 
 
So they came up with the model for a larger, more diverse medical center with a a fully functioning ER at it's heart... but with a wide array of both routine and specialized medical services housed under the same roof that would help support the ER with the revenue generated by the services they offered.
 
Today the EEMC's new multi-story building is open and functioning around the clock, serving a population of more than 50,000 people from Hebron to Gilo with excellent primary, specialized and emergency health care. 
 
Soon to open will be ambulance, fire and rescue station, Women's Health Center, an Elder-Care facility and a Radiology Center.  
This last is the one that is closest to opening, and (IMHO) the most urgently needed. 
 
At present, if anyone is seen by their regular or an emergency physician, and is found to need an X-Ray, they have to be shipped off to Jerusalem!  That's crazy, right?
 
Well, the Radiology suite is nearly ready.  The big equipment is in place and the lead sheathing is being installed as I write this.  But they still lack many essential fixtures and furnishings to be able to open their doors and offer this essential service around the clock.
 
I'm hoping that by harnessing the collective power of the small donors (among which I count myself)... not to mention your enthusiasm for an earnest fool, we can achieve great and lasting things together.
 
I hope I can count on your support.
 
To find out a little more about the EEMC or this project, you can go here.
 
To go directly to the donation page, Click Here.  Any size donation is welcome... even the value of a couple of day's coffee!  You'll be surprised how fast it will add up!
 
I'll be posting our progress here and on the EEMC site every day or two between now and Midsummer's Eve.
 
And on the day (and night) of the ride itself, you will be able to track my progress online... and even call to say hello and offer encouragement.
 
Updates to follow.
 
 

Posted by David Bogner on May 27, 2011 | Permalink

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What an amazing centre! Your town looks like it will have better medical coverage than our city! Well done to everyone involved in the project; those who are making the vision a reality.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | May 27, 2011 9:45:18 AM

The site is not taking my credit card info. I tried the number with and without dashes; with and without spaces. Any suggestions?

Posted by: lynne | May 27, 2011 1:56:55 PM

Great idea Trep!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 27, 2011 2:17:37 PM

I'm exhausted just reading about your itinerary. Kol Hakavod! Just donated. Wonderful cause. B'hatzlacha!

Posted by: SaraK | May 27, 2011 5:03:09 PM

...and how does one donate with Isracard? Is that even possible? If not, where do I mail the check?

Posted by: aliyah06 | May 29, 2011 10:43:35 PM

What time do you think you'll be hitting Modi'in? We can stand by the highway & wave ;)

Will you put up a route map, so we can "follow" your progress?

Kol hakavod! And even more so for making this into a fundraising effort, when it could have just as easily been strictly a self-satisfying, bottom-bruising ride.

Posted by: Alissa | May 29, 2011 11:06:31 PM

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