Mensches on Motorcycles

The Fellowship  |  June 12, 2017

A motorcycle parked alongside the beach while the sun is about to set.
Mensches on Motorcycles

If you took a roadtrip or a Sunday drive this weekend and spotted a gaggle of bikers, perhaps the riders were riding for a greater cause. Tablet’s Sophie Aroesty tells us about the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance, whose annual ride this week is being undertaken in order to raise Holocaust awareness:

My dad left St. Louis on motorcycle for Providence yesterday, joining hundreds of other Jewish bikers for the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance’s annual Ride 2 Remember. It’s the only time of the year that a number of the 46 international JMA clubs convene in one location—with the specific aim of Holocaust awareness. My father has participated in Ride to Remember every year since 2008. In 2009, he created his own affiliate JMA chapter called the Wandering Twos, and they have ridden together every year since. As of this publishing they are somewhere in New York state. In all it’ll take them three days to make the journey.

The Wandering Twos are heading to Ride 2 Remember with a gang as diverse as the bikes they’re riding. Simcha, a 17-year-old orthodox Jew, is doing his first long-distance ride on a BMW R1150. There’s also Bongo, a seasoned biker, riding a Harley Davidson RK Classic. He’s not actually Jewish, but that doesn’t matter. After meeting Bongo at a gas station and inviting him along for a ride, the club had unknowingly recruited one of their most dedicated members. Frequenting the club’s rides as well as their Shabbat dinners, Hanukkah parties, and Passover seders, Bongo now calls himself “the most Jewish Catholic you’ll ever meet.” It is with this spirit that the Wandering Twos, and many other JMA chapters—like the ChaiWay Riders, Shalom’n’Chrome, and Hillel’s Angels groups—ride.

The Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance started in 2005 as an informal group of Jewish bikers who were looking for a cause to support. Many of the founding members had Holocaust survivors in their families and found that raising money for Holocaust awareness was one cause they could collectively get behind…