Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance taps Daytonian as next international president
JMA R2R 2010
By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer
|Incoming JMA Pres. Ron Wynne|
Last year, when Daytonian Ron Wynne called the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center to inform its staff that the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance was planning to donate between $60-70,000 to the new Skokie-based entity, they thought he was joking.
Then the museum checked out JMA’s references and what its members had done for Holocaust education centers in Savannah Ga., Omaha, and Whitwell, Tenn.
Now, Wynne says, “They’re excited to have us.”
Wynne will be installed as the president of JMA — a group with the goal of promoting Holocaust education — at its annual Ride To Remember, June 10-13 in Skokie.
“We represent a very non-traditional cross section of our community,” Wynne says of the more than 4,500 people who are members of 42 JMA clubs in six countries. When he took over as membership coordinator of JMA, there were only 15 clubs.
“We’ve got doctors and lawyers and car salesman,” he says, referring to his new job in the last category.
He anticipates 300 bikers will attend the annual Ride To Remember, with at least nine from the Sons of Israel club, based in southwest Ohio; Wynne was among the founders of Sons of Israel four years ago. The JMA itself is only six years old.
Highlights of the Skokie Ride to Remember, based at the Doubletree Hotel there, will include a breakfast at Beth Sholom in Northbrook sponsored by the Chicago Jewish Federation, events at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, scenic rides, safety courses, and a Shabbat banquet.
The keynote for the banquet will be Robert Bielski, son of Tuvia Bielski, who fought Nazis and saved Jewish lives with the Bielski brothers’ partisan brigade in the forests of Belarus during World War II. The story of the Bielski brothers is the focus of the 2008 feature film Defiance.
“We owe a huge thanks to Ryan Levin and the Levin Family Foundation, which is paying for him to come to Chicago,” Wynne says.
The funds that JMA raises through its Ride To Remember will establish an endowment for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, to be named the JMA Educational Opportunity.
“It’s for schools that would not otherwise be able to visit the museum, for transportation, educational materials,” Wynne says.
Last year’s JMA ride raised funds to create a Holocaust lending library at the Jewish Federation of Savannah and to support the Remembrance Project of the Charleston, S.C. Jewish Federation. In 2008, JMA raised $62,000 for the Heartland Holocaust Endowment Fund to support Holocaust education programs at the University of Nebraska.
“Everywhere we go, we are leaving a footprint,” Wynne says.