It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nope — it’s a rabbi!
When the plane in front of him started its engines, Brenner Glickman could feel the slack in the tether line attached to his hang-glider pulling taught. The sensation was identical to the initial movement of a roller coaster — once it starts, there’s no getting off.
Glickman, who is a rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, has wanted to hang-glide ever since as a teenager he visited the Air and Space Museum, in Washington, D.C. To celebrate his 40th birthday, Glickman gave himself the present he always wanted.
“What’s appealing about hang-gliding is that it’s serene,” Glickman says. “It’s majestic and blissful and quiet. You feel like a hawk or vulture that just sort of glides through the air. It’s exhilarating being up there.”
In Jewish tradition, when a person reaches the age of 40, it marks a level of maturity; it’s a point when one can be trusted with esoteric teachings, particularly the mysticism of Kabbalah.
“In the earlier times, it (Kabbalah) was forbidden to anyone under the age of 40 because they were considered too reckless,” Glickman said. “I went in the opposite direction of doing something that was not exactly in the spirit of that.”
When Glickman discussed his birthday wish about a year ago with his wife, Rabbi Elaine Glickman, she didn’t exactly agree with his decision.
“She was upset about it initially, but I think she understood early on that this was important to me and really was a lifelong dream,” Glickman said. “It was not something I had thought little about.”
On July 9, Glickman headed to Wallaby Ranch, in Davenport. Traditionally, hang-gliding is done by jumping off a mountain peak to get the altitude necessary to slowly drift down.
“What’s done here, is they tow you up in an ultra-light plane, and you’re tethered to the plane about 60 feet or so behind it, and you tether up, 2,000 to 2,500 feet in the air,” Glickman said. “Then, you release the tether and slowly drift down for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s dreamlike and so wonderful.”
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