By Annette van de Kamp-Wright
When we hear the phrase “Motorcycle club” a certain picture comes to mind. We think of rough riders, long beards, and lots of leather. Of course, there are many people who ride and own motorcycles, and they don’t fit the stereotype. There are hundreds of organizations in America that bring motorcycle enthusiasts together. The question is: how many of them are Jewish?
The answer may surprise you. The Jewish Motorcyclist Alliance has 407 members, 40 of which are here in America, from New York to Texas, and from South Carolina to Arizona. In May of 2008, the JMA came to Omaha for the Ride to Remember, promoting remembrance of the Holocaust. More than 75 Jewish motorcyclists from around the world partnered with the National Holocaust Endowment Fund, in support of the Fund’s efforts to promote Holocaust education in Nebraska and throughout the world.
Howard Kutler was there, and soon after he received a request from Sam Fried and Ron Brodkey. Wasn’t it time to start a Omaha chapter of the JMA? The L’Chaim Riders of the Heartland was born, and Kutler became its president. Four years later, Kutler has an invitation for other motorcycle enthusiasts in the community.
“We’re getting together,” he says, “and we are planning an Independence Day ride during the J’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration.” The group will depart from the JCC parking lot, and ride to Pisgah, Iowa. “There, we will stop at “The Old Home Fill ‘r Up and Keep on Trucking Café” for breakfast; then we’ll come back to Omaha, back to the J. The ride will take us through the beautiful Loess Hills, which I’m sure everyone will enjoy.” The ride will take approximately three hours, including the stop at Pisgah.
The L’Chaim Riders welcome anyone who wants to participate: “We’re hoping for riders from Omaha, Council Bluffs, and the Sioux City area,” Kutler says.
In addition, a repeat Ride to Remember is scheduled for May 31st through June 3rd, starting in Toronto, Canada. It’s an initiative of the Holocaust Education Center of the Jewish federation of Toronto. For more information, visit www.yowmtc.com/R2R.
Local riders who want to participate in the Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration Ride can contact Howard Kutler at firstname.lastname@example.org.