By Jewish Federation of Jacksonville
It only takes a minute to change your life. That lesson rang true for Rabbi Kurinsky of Chabad at the Beaches about a year ago when he suffered a severe heart attack at the age of 36.
At a bat mitzvah, he was not feeling well but brushed it off.
“I wasn’t feeling well, but I didn’t take it seriously,” Kurinsky said. “At 36, you don’t pay attention.”
Luckily there were doctors at the bat mitzvah who advised him to go to the hospital. After hours of testing, they discovered he was in the middle of a heart attack. and had one artery completely blocked.
Once home, he started going to cardiac rehab but didn’t feel it was the right fit for his recovery. At the same time, his brother told him about a person he knew who trained people in cycling, specifically cardiac patients. So, Kurinsky took a leap, went to Texas, and trained in cycling.
And he’s cycled every day since. In order to motivate himself, he came up with the idea of doing a bike ride all the way down to Key West. He didn’t think it would happen, but it was the goal he needed to push him.
As time passed, more and more people signed up for the ride, and Kurinsky’s attitude toward rehab shifted. “I went from being a patient to an athlete,” he said.
He also discovered the true meaning of self-care.
“I used to think that you could either be a physical or a spiritual person, but I realized you can be both,” he said. “You can care about your body and do God’s work. I used to think it was selfish to take time for myself, but I realized I need a good body to serve God and to serve others.”
With that mindset, Kurinsky and his crew of cyclists made it all the way to Key West, stopping at cities along the way. They received an outpouring of love and support for their message, and Kurinsky is looking to make the trip a yearly tradition. Read more about Rabbi Kurinsky’s outlook on self-care in this month’s Rabbinically Speaking column on page 18 of the August 2018 issue of the Jacksonville Jewish News.