Longing for the Dawn

Posted on October 23rd, 2011


I have said before that the nights are the hardest part for me.

I have lain awake countless times at around two or three in the morning, when my strength is gone and keeping the nightmares at bay is just too much.

Eventually, I give up on trying to get back to sleep and just “long for the dawn” as the Psalm (Tehillim 130) says.

On both a literal and figurative level, the battle with cancer is like one long night.

You long for the sun to come up because usually you feel a little more in control when the sun is shining.

You feel a little bit more hope with each new dawn. When Stella is up and we talk, I feel a bit more of a sense of normalcy and can often push the nightmares back into the box where they hide out.

But getting through the night gets harder and harder.

And I am getting really tired.

I’m tired of feeling helpless while Stella fights her courageous battle with the cancer that has turned our lives upside down. Demonstrating love and support and comfort are a given. Of course I do that as much as I can. But I need to do more.

So I have come up with an idea, and I hope you will join me.

On Thursday night, November 10, I plan to get on my bike at 6:30 in the evening. I plan to ride for twelve hours straight until 6:30 Friday morning. I am asking people to give a small amount of money (a shekel?, a dollar?) for every kilometer that I manage to ride in those twelve hours.  (I am trying for 200.) This money will go to the Gush Etzion Foundation’s cancer fund that helps families like us meet medical expenses.

Cancer is horrible enough. But no one should have to worry about expenses while at the same time fighting this battle.

I am fully aware that this is a bit of a crazy idea. I know that around three in the morning, I will wonder if I can push through the pain and continue until the sun comes up.

But that’s exactly the point.

Stella has chemo every three weeks. Maybe, maybe, I can feel a fraction of the pain she is going through and can come up with better words of encouragement to support her in her struggle.

Or maybe I can’t and it’s just some way I can focus on something where my own effort will do some good.

I’m not asking for charity. I’m asking that you join me in trying to make a difference.

If you live in Neve Daniel and own a bike, please ride with me for an hour (or more or less.) The pace and terrain will both be moderate (within reason — I intend to ride at between 18 and 20 KPH.) If you have seen me gnashing my teeth, swaying the bike from side to side, and whipping past cars on one of my time trials, don’t worry. That’s not what this is about. It will be easy to keep up and since the course will be mostly within the Yishuv, you won’t have to worry about traffic or terrorists. (Do try and bring a light though.)

I plan to bring my GPS watch and my phone so I can keep everyone interested up to date on Facebook.

This is not a race nor a way to take in beautiful scenery. It is simply one man’s attempt to beat the night and feel that I am being useful in the struggle against cancer. So e-mail me if you can ride alongside.

And for everyone else, please consider making a small contribution per kilometer or hour or a total amount. That way when things get tough, I will have motivation to keep going.

All the contributions are tax deductible in both the United States and Israel. Just click here and fill out the info. You can make a pledge per kilometer or hour or just make a total  direct donation. After the ride, I will let those who pledged know how many kilometers/hours I rode for and you can make your donation through the Gush Foundation website. I will send the link.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to riding with you — in real life or in spirit.

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  1. minka says:

    count me in for money.
    i pledge fifty cents a mile plus an extra 18 dollars for the entire trip.
    the 18 is a given and then per mile half a dollar.
    total will be $118.

  2. Bill Landau says:

    I like Minka’s calculations. I’ll click on the link and make a similar pledge.

    Vayehi erev, vayehi voker…. Rabbi Antine’s D’var Torah for Shabbat Beresheet was about the fact that Jews don’t start our days in the morning, but in the evening. We start in the dark, and bring in the light. And, in addition, we bring the light of morning into the darkness as we light candles.

    May your ride be a symbol and a precursor of Stella’s journey from the dark of cancer into the light of a cancer-free life ad me’ah ve’esrim.

  3. Baruch says:

    We will be spreading thumbtacks around the yeshuv, to ensure our you don’t ride us out of house and home! 😉
    Just kidding…

  4. libby anfinsen says:

    Dear Jordan and Stella, You already know my thoughts for your well being and happiness….but I’m not sure I like your plan….theoretically it is fine, but Jordan, you don’t have to break your back or suffer physically to prove anything….G-d knows your thoughts….you are much more vital to Stella as
    her husband, companion, lover, provider, rock of Gibralter, enabler, reliable
    force, father to the beautiful kids, and all the roles you already play in her and your lives by just being with her….don’t underestimate your worth and well being to her. You are a good MAN. May braishis be the beginning of a new and
    precious time for you and the kids…My check to Gush Etzion Cancer fund follows….what is the address? libby anfinsen

  5. Yarden says:

    Just something I have to do psychologically. Can’t explain. And it will be useful. Unfortunately the bills will only go up unless there is some miracle (which we pray for.)

    Checks should be made payable to:
    The Gush Etzion Foundation, USA
    POB 1030z+
    Manchester NH 03105

    Checks Should Be Noted as for ‘Cancer Fund–Bike Ride’

  6. Iris says:

    Go for it Yarden!!! A check will be forthcoming. Stella, love you, salt and pepper shakers always here–a little bit of the Frankls at our Shabbos table.

  7. Debra P says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Gerson and I are honored to support your family and others fighting this horrible disease. May we always be able to find the light even in the darkness.

  8. minka says:

    dear yarden,
    when is the ride in the dark? where are you going? is israel large enough for a 200 mile ride? maybe it is 200 km? (just kidding)……….
    just stay safe on this ride. you are preciously needed by your family!

  9. Hi Yarden, I don’t believe we have met but I am friends with Chuck and Timna Katz who live at neve Daniel

    And when my darling husband, David Margolis z”l,had cancer I also felt the nights were more painful for both of us than the days. I was just remembering the other day that sense of the hours at night being sooo much longer than the days. I will support your ride…put me down for a shekel a km…

    Thank you and blessings .

    Judith Margolis
    Yeshuv Beit Yatir

  10. Thank you. Please click on the link to enter your pledge. Thankfully there are too many for me to remember myself. Are you related to the Margolis of Potomac?

  11. Not as far as I know, (it was my husband’s family name) I will certainly enter the pledge. good luck..

  12. noa choritz says:

    Just saw this blog…I think I met you once at Al Derech Burma? Is that possible. In any event, I would love to join you for part of the ride…maybe the last hour or so? I live across the road in Efrat.

  13. libby anfinsen says:

    my reply seems to be missing or attributed to someone else….no matter,,,,,,
    friendly with all the Margolese family that used to live in Potomac and now
    made aliya to Israel…..good riding after you get a sound nights sleep!! libby

  14. Thank you. I will be riding in Efrat at one point at night. My support crew will be updating when and where I will be on my Facebook page. Friend me to follow the ride.

  15. sarah baumol says:

    may your wife have a refuah shleima
    put us down for a shekel a kilometer.
    sarah and yossi baumol

  16. Thank you.

    Please follow the link for your pledge so that you will get an e-mail after the ride. The info is not public.


  17. […] While Stella battles the illness and the chemo as best as she can, I have been left sitting helpless while I watch from the sidelines. Wanting to get up and do something, and also concerned about medical expenses, I decided that I would ride my bike through the night and raise money for the Gush Etzion Foundation’s fund for families like ours struggling with serious illness. More on my decision if you read this post. […]