A group of cyclists from around the country recently visited Oklahoma City to raise awareness of an international organization that connects people through friendship.
Along the way, they were treated to a healthy dose of Oklahoma heat and a large amount of Oklahoma hospitality from the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater Oklahoma City.
Chabad-Oklahoma City hosted the 11 youths and men who are riding across America as part of the national Bike 4 Friendship Cross-Country Tour. The group spent a weekend at the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, 3000 W Hefner Road. The group shared Shabbat services with members of the metro Jewish faith community, among other things.
Ovadia Goldman, rabbi of Chabad-Oklahoma City, said the center opened its doors to the cyclists because their goodwill trip is in keeping with the Chabad's mission to aid and assist the community. Goldman said it was fitting that the cyclists visited Oklahoma City over the Fourth of July weekend because the Friendship Circle “brings a measure of independence to thousands of special-needs children” across the country.
Nissan Kornfeld, one of the group's non-cyclist leaders, said the seven-week trip offered a special way for cyclists to share the mission of Friendship Circle, an international Jewish organization, based in Brooklyn, NY, which pairs teenage volunteers with children, teens and youth adults with special needs. The program's goal is to develop a sense of companionship and community among the participants.
Kornfeld, 22, of Seattle, said the cyclists would ride 3,400 miles through 13 states on their route, making official stops in 40 cities, to complete their tour. He said the cyclists ranged in age from 16 to 67, and participants came from a variety of cities, states and countries, including New York, Atlanta, Australia and Israel. Kornfeld said the Jewish cyclists ride on weekdays and generally break from Friday to Sunday to observe the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday and lasts until sundown Saturday.