By Rabbi Erin Boxt
Yes, you read the title correctly. No, it was not a mistake. Believe it or not, there is a group of Jewish motorcycle riders, and not just here in Georgia, but all over! The Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance (JMA) is an organization that brings Jewish motorcycle riders together.
Here in Georgia, we have our very own gang of riders: the Sabra Riders of Atlanta. Truth be told, they are from all over Georgia. You should really check out the website to find out more information about them. They have rides every week, from short rides (90 miles) to full-day rides (300 miles).
Why, you may ask, am I focusing this blog on this outstanding group of individuals? Well, if you know me at all, you know that I live by the following line/motto from the Torah: “V’ahavtah l’reiacha kamocha” (“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”). Too many times in our lives, we see people who appear to be different from us, and we make assumptions about them, more often wrong than right. This past Sunday, during my class for eighth- and ninth-graders at TKE, I was teaching the students that all kinds of hatred begin with simple misjudgments or prejudgments about others.
So let me make this perfectly clear: These wonderful men and women are people who enjoy being Jewish and spending time with other Jews. Riding their bikes is just one way they are able to come together and enjoy each other’s company! Having spent some time with many of them, I can tell you that they are the “salt of the earth.” Whenever I see motorcycle riders now, I have to admit that there is a bit of jealousy that creeps up inside of me. The Sabra Riders just seem to have so much fun with each other—we should all have that!
The Sabra Riders are just like every one of us. Actually, if I were not so incredibly terrified of riding motorcycles, I might join the gang! OK, here’s the point: At Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb, we welcome all kinds of Jews, non-Jews, etc. Anyone who wants to find a spiritual connection may come in our doors, and if they feel welcome and find something they can connect with, great! They are then part of our family.
Come to our services. You will see all types of people, from the Sabra Riders to the non-Jewish spouses of many of our members to those who were raised in a more “traditional” Jewish home. Each of these members of our congregation has found something at TKE to connect with, and for that we are so happy and blessed.
Remember, keep it real!