While I was in Poland for this year’s Ride For The Living, I met a lovely gentleman. His whole family perished in the Holocaust, but he survived. I had the fortune of sharing lunch with him and getting to know him. The most moving moment was when he poured me a drink and said “Sam, I wish to make a toast with you. L’chaim. To the beauty of life”. He then proceeded to tell me about his family which is now over 80 people. We celebrated the life that we are both so fortunate to be living.
Ride For The Living is a 55 mile bike ride from the gates of Auschwitz to the doors of the JCC, Krakow; a journey from darkness to light. World Jewish Relief has been coordinating the UK team for Ride For The Living over the past three years. Participants get the chance to experience World Jewish Relief’s work rebuilding Poland’s Jewish community and supporting holocaust survivors. The ride is both a trip about remembrance of life lost and a celebration of life re-born.
All of this cycling has got me thinking about why we take on these crazy challenges. There are so many reasons to ride; to get healthy, save money on transport or be more environmentally friendly. However, after participating in Ride For The Living and planning World Jewish Relief’s newest ride – a Kindertransport 80th anniversary commemorative cycle from Berlin to London - it is clear to me that World Jewish Relief’s cycling challenges provide more reasons to ride than personal gain.
My top three reasons to ride are:
1. Ride to Remember
Never forget. A phrase which I interpret to mean that if you never forget and continue to educate then history cannot repeat itself. While I am aware that genocides, persecution and racial hate will unfortunately never be a thing of the past, I do believe that communities of all natures come together when remembering the horrors of years gone by. While completing such challenge events as Ride For The Living and the Kindertransport Commemorative Cycle: Berlin to London, it is this sense of community that can be felt. So, although you ride and remember with a heavy heart, you also feel a sense of pride and joy at the idea of people coming together.
2. Cycle to Celebrate
World Jewish Relief was founded in 1933 around the orchestration of the Kindertransport, which saved 10,000 children from the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Ride For The Living and Kindertransport Commemorative Cycle: Berlin to London are both cycles to remember those who we lost, but just as importantly to celebrate the lives that were saved and the life that continues to live.
3. Sport for Support
World Jewish Relief’s work continues to save and transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities and individuals in the world. We aim to break the cycle of poverty (no pun intended!) and allow individuals to live with dignity, be that a young mother being able to support her children after graduating from our employment programmes or a 90 year old widower who, due to the World Jewish Relief home repairs programme, no longer has to use a bedpan instead of the outside toilet when winter temperatures drop below -20 in Eastern Europe.
Completing a World Jewish Relief bike ride means every pound raised in sponsorship for every mile cycled will allow for World Jewish Relief’s vital programmes to continue for years to come.
If you, like me, believe that there is more than personal gain when it comes to completing a challenge event and want to get on yer bike in support of World Jewish Relief, why not consider signing up for a once in a lifetime ride and see what difference your bike can make.
Registration for the Kindertransport Commemorative Cycle Berlin to London closes on August 31st 2017 - SIGN UP NOW