“Jewish Motorcycle Clubs, who knew?”
“Rhode Island’s Jewish community has never seen anything like this before!”
“It never occurred to me that raising money for Holocaust education could be so much fun!”
These were a few of the comments about June’s Ride2Remember. Now that the event is in the rearview mirror, the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center (SBHEC), in Providence, has announced that the ride raised over $45,000, making it one of the largest fundraisers in the center’s history.
SBHEC Executive Director May-Ronny Zeidman said, “I expected it to be large, but it was so much greater than I thought it was going to be. R2R was everything we hoped for and more.”
The ride brought hundreds of Jewish motorcyclists to Rhode Island to rally in support of Holocaust education and help the SBHEC raise funds to participate in the USC Shoah Foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT). NDT is a hologram-based education program that provides students with an interactive experience with survivors. This technology will help keep the memory of the Holocaust alive by bringing students into a real conversation with a survivor, even if that survivor is deceased.
The SBHEC is looking forward to bringing NDT to Rhode Island students in the near future.
R2R is an annual program of the Jewish Motorcyclist Association, a worldwide organization with about 6,000 members. Many of this year’s riders felt that this was the best ride ever.
The route they took through the state was beautiful, but what really differentiated this year from past rides was the police escort. The escort was coordinated by the Providence police but brought in motorcycle officers from towns across the state.
Rider Ken Reese, of the Haverim Club, from Philadelphia, said, “This year was the most enjoyable ride. Thanks to our police escort, we didn’t stop once from the time we left Precision Harley-Davidson [in Pawtucket] until we parked in front of the Bornstein Holocaust Center.”
The escort was so appreciated by the riders that they invited the police to join them for lunch at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center after the ride.
When the police entered the meeting hall, they were greeted by a standing ovation. The officers were visibly touched. Providence patrolman Scott Keenan said, “We do these types of events all the time. Usually when the ride is over, we just pack up and leave. But this group has made us feel really appreciated and a part of the event, not an afterthought.”
LEV POPLOW is a communications and development consultant who writes for the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, in Providence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.