So Stella’s wife has cancer.
And Yarden wants to raise money.
How much money could he possible raise - maybe a few thousand dollars? Maybe, even, tens of thousands of dollars…
Sharei Zedek could shmooze up some rich guy who could drop a million dollars - no fuss, no mess.
He gets a plaque for his wall, the hospital gets the money and everybody feels happy.
But Stella’s Army was so much more than just about raising money.
The process was the main thing.
That we raised more than $50,000 is fantastic but, for all of us, the whole experience was far greater than mere money.
Yarden wanted to ride and raise money. Blogs from Yarden and his friends raised awareness.
The bracelet idea developed (my son had the original idea)
Sharei Zedek helped with all the technical-financial stuff.
The FaceBook page - Stella’s Army Bracelets became the main forum for supporters to become involved.
We kept getting more and more “Like”s.
Bracelets sold by the thousands - in Israel and in America.
And the bike trip was planned.
And more and more people became involved - hearing about Stella and Yarden and wanting to help and show support.
And as we got closer to the departure day, the weather got worse and the security situation in Israel rapidly deteriorated.
Things were not looking too good.
After a postponement of one week (because of a storm) at least the weather got better.
So the country was at war with terrorists in Gaza - and we headed North to the Golan Heights.
And so, I found myself at midnight on Mount Hermon - the most northerly tip of Israel - pitch black - alongside Yarden is his Lycra boxer shorts, David - a big guy on a little bright-red Vespa scooter, Avi & Joshua - discussing the best time during the night to eat Salami and pickles and this whole mess has to travel 260 kilometers to Neve Daniel:
Yarden on his bright red bicycle,
David on his bright red scooter
and Avi, Joshua and myself in the car - alongside a bright red salami.
And I’m thinking - this is really stupid…not silly, stupid - but, rather, madness stupid.
In my mind, I’m listing all the potential catastrophes that are - more likely than not - going to happen during the ride: -
-We’re only a few kilometers from the Syrian border - that wee in-house fricassé could so easily spill over to Israel.
-We’ve been watching massive troop movements, North to South, including big tanks and stuff. I imagine that the average over-tired tank-carrying driver is probably not expecting to meet a middle-aged guy, in Lycra, hurtling around the roads in the middle of the night.
-So many hills to go up and to go down, could Yarden really manage the distance?
-The potential for an accident ….the sky’s the limit!
-And the salami could have gone bad, and then what?
And we left the Golan Heights and for the next 12 hours traveled South.
And, no! - there were no accidents
And, yes! - Yarden managed the whole ride
…and the salami was fine too.
And there was friendship and support and concern and encouragement and camaraderie and care all the way. And Yarden made the journey And David made the journey And so did Avi, Joshua and myself…, And we are all better people for having done it. And we raised some money too.