Jewish Motorcycle Alliance brings Ride to Remember to Milwaukee County
By Sarah McGrew,2023-06-09
More than 150 motorcyclists descended on Milwaukee on Friday. Jewish Motorcycle Alliance members from Massachusetts to California and even Canada took part in their annual Ride to Remember.
"We teach tolerance and that's our main goal," said Mindy Dauber who joined the ride from New Jersey.
The event is in a different location every year and supports a local Holocaust education organization. This year, the beneficiary is Milwaukee's Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC).
HERC said since 2015 antisemitism in Wisconsin has increased by 500%.
Samantha Abramson, Herc's Executive Director, was out at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center with many others to welcome the riders.
"Efforts like this bring attention to antisemitism. It's also a chance for us to be proud of our Jewish identity," Abramson said.
Former HERC board chair Harry Pelz was also at the event to welcome riders. The organization is named for his parents who had to hideout from Nazi rule.
"For all the years of the war they were in the forest, they were in the woods. They, fortunately, made it through. They had people that would hide them, you know, whatever it took to make it through," Pelz shared of his parents' experience.
His parents' story, and the stories of other survivors, make the rise of antisemitism Pelz sees today unfathomable.
"They came to the United States after the war and they said never again. This can't possibly happen here. Well, guess what, it's kind of the same story that happened in the early 30s kind of politically that we're hearing right now. I think it's terrible," Pelz said.
Because of that, he said the work HERC is doing is as important as ever. The organization serves over 100,000 students every year across the state.
"I think what HERC is doing really critical. The education aspect. I mean how do you fight it? You gotta start with kids when they're younger and teach them what it means to hate and what the holocaust did. And you hope as they grow up, they'll learn the lessons of acceptance and not being prejudiced and that's really what HERC's message is," Pelz said.
Pelz is elated the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance chose HERC this year. It's an added bonus that Pelz is also a motorcyclist enthusiast.
"It's a great sunny day! What a perfect, perfect day for something like this," he said of the ideal riding conditions.
It’s about time to watch on your time. Stream local news and weather 24/7 by searching for “TMJ4” on your device.