History of the Ride to Remember (R2R)

The Hillel’s Angels and the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance are committed to the promise that we think every Jew should make to our past, current, and future generations. It is the promise made to the totality of mankind. It is the promise to never forget the events of The Holocaust and try our best to educate those who are uninformed.

Holocaust remembrance can only occur through continuous and widespread and continuing Holocaust education. The Hillel’s Angels together with the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance’s (JMA) support the annual Ride to Remember (R2R). The R2R is our effort to provide a curriculum of Holocaust Education to young men and women in order to insure that the knowledge of what has, and what can happen to the Jewish people transcends the generations. Our annual R2R effort helps to insure that tomorrow’s leaders understand the horrors of genocide and the terrible consequences of indifference. Holocaust education, in today’s world, may be more relevant than ever before. We must not only remember the horrors of our past, but do what we can to stop the genocides of tomorrow.

The first R2R in May of 2005, proved that the JMA, as an organizing body, could bring Jewish Motorcycle clubs together to honor the memory of those lost.  The visit to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC was a remarkable event which, for the first time, brought Jewish riders from across the entire East Coast and Canada together to commemorate Yom Hashoa.

In 2006, the Paper Clips Ride brought Jewish bikers from around the world to the sleepy town of Whitwell, TN. This R2R, the second annual Ride to Remember, has provided the children of the Whitwell School with much needed aid and the educational tools to continue their Holocaust studies. Whitwell, made famous by the movie “Paper Clips”, has developed into a center of Holocaust Education and Tolerance for the entire state of Tennessee.

In 2007,  the R2R served to showcase the incredible strength of the Jewish Motorcycling Community. With bikers from across the country and around the world, our participation in the Salute To Israel Day Parade in New York City, NY made it clear that together, we could not be ignored. Together, the strength of our community could accomplish great things and show proof that  “Never Again” were not just words softly spoken in synagogues and schools but ROARED out loud for the world to hear.

In 2008, the R2R continued the trend of setting an ever higher standard of excellence in organization and execution. The amazing welcome from the Jewish community of Omaha, NE, allowed the JMA to further focus its efforts on Holocaust Remembrance through Education. The 2008 “Illuminations Ride” raised essential funds to secure Holocaust education for schools and universities that would otherwise not have a Holocaust curriculum. In doing so the importance of education as a component of Holocaust Remembrance was more firmly established as a key element of all R2Rs to come.

In 2009, the R2R visited historic Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC, to continuing our struggle against anti–Semitism and ethnic hatred while promoting tolerance through Holocaust education. Funds were raised for educational endeavors sponsored by the Jewish communities in Savannah and Charleston. The two initiatives supported were The Remember Project – a Holocaust education project based in Charleston and the Holocaust Research and Lending Library in Savannah. The sincerity of our participant’s desire to “Ride to Remember” cannot be denied and you only needed to be on that wild journey, from Savannah to Charleston to see it. With severe storm warnings blaring from the weather band radios while the roar of thunder and the cascades of rain falling with biblical force, the elements were readily overpowered by the scream of motorcycle engines. The Jewish community waiting for us in Charleston was not to be disappointed and the welcome we received was that much sweeter for everyone’s knowledge of the challenging ride.

Remember that beyond the charitable contributions made by participating clubs in the annual R2R, “getting there” is always an amazing experience. While a normal club ride may cover anywhere from 100 – 300 miles, the R2R for some of us means a commitment of several thousands of miles, riding for several days, sometimes through difficult and challenging conditions. While Jewish Bikers may not feel all that connected to Biketoberfest or Sturgis, the R2R is OUR event and hardcore riders have ridden through torrential rain, fog, and even snow to get there.

The 2010 R2R was held in Skokie, Illinois to support the new Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. The idea for this museum had been born 30 years prior to our visit, when a group of neo-Nazi’s decided to March through the town. For more about this moment in history and the Illinois Holocaust Museum, please visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/remembering-the-nazis-in_b_188739.html and http://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/

In 2011, the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance converged on a more typical "biker" destination, Virginia Beach Virginia. As always, while the riding and camaraderie was great, it was all about purpose. The JMA, hosted by the Lost Tribe Motorcycle Club, raised $27,000 for the Tidewater Holocaust Commission in Virginia Beach for their Holocaust Education Program.

In 2012, Ride to Remember had the Alliance head North to Toronto Canada. Rain could not stop the JMA from seeing to the cause of Holocaust Remberance and the member clubs succeeding in raising $32,923 for the Holocaust Educators Tour in Toronto.

In 2013, R2R, in California, created previously unknown challenges for the core constituents of the JMA. With a concentration of members located on the East Coast, it was difficult to amass the kind of presence previous R2Rs had been able to muster. That said, the organization’s goal was to let Jewish Motorcyclists that may not otherwise have been aware of our community know that they had friends across the country. In the process, the member clubs of the JMA collected for a great cause, The Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network.

In 2014, the R2R will be hosted by us, The Hillel’s Angels. The Hillel’s Angels and our sister clubs in the JMA will ride to support the efforts of the Oswego Museum and Education Center. The Center is dedicated to keeping alive the stories of the 982 refugees from World War II who were allowed into the United States and placed into a refugee camp at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York, from August 1944 until February 1946. You can find information about the 2014R2R at www.safehavenmuseum.com


2008 Ride to Remember Commemorative Ceremony

R2R 2020
DETAILS and Registration Forms HERE