Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance gearing up for R.I. visit


Hundreds of motorcyclists will roar into Rhode Island in June for the 13th Annual Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance’s Ride 2 Remember, which will support the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center in Providence.


A motorcycle parade from Precision Harley-Davidson, in Pawtucket, to the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence, on June 9 is among the highlights of the three-day event, which will include many activities open to the public.   

The Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance is a worldwide organization with about 6,000 members.

“We ride to support Holocaust education because a lot of our members are relatives of survivors and victims,” says JMA’s Ride 2 Remember Coordinator Betsy Ahrens. “We do this because we want to make sure the younger generation is aware of what went on and to teach them the truth of what happened so that it never happens again.”

Selma Stanzler, a longtime advocate for the Holocaust center,  will be the grand marshal for the Ride 2 Remember.

Stanzler said she’s thrilled that the JMS is coming to Rhode Island because she wants “to leave my grandchildren a legacy of responsibility as a Jew and as an adult.”

She added, “The JMA is not an organization of old people reliving the horror of the Holocaust, and this will not be a sedate dress-up event. They are an atypical group of Jews committed to educating about the Holocaust, which is the only way to prevent it from happening again. Hate leads to violence and, today as much as ever, it is imperative that we teach people not to hate.”

As part of the festivities, Richard Pilavan, owner of Precision Harley-Davidson, is sponsoring a  raffle for a 2017 Harley-Davidson Black Street Glide motorcycle.

“An event like this brings together two of the most important things in my life – my Jewish identity and love of motorcycles. Where else could I hang out with bagel-slicing, cream cheese-spreading, yarmulke-wearing bikers? So I said yes to helping before I even knew the details,” Pilavan said.

Raffle tickets are $100 each and only 500 will be sold. Tickets can be purchased online at The drawing will be held Friday, June 9.

If you, or someone you know, would like to join the parade on June 9, you can register to ride, as well as for any of the events, at

LEV POPLOW is a communications and development consultant who writes for the Bornstein Holocaust Education Center. He can be reached at