HARTFORD–On Sunday, July 14, Noach Black climbed on his bicycle set off with four other cyclists on Bike 4 Friendship, a 3,500-mile cross-country bicycle ride intended to raise awareness and funds for the Friendship Circle, an international non-profit organization that provides programs and support to children and teens with special needs, and their families.
A resident of West Hartford, Black is one of many Friendship Circle teen volunteers who give freely of their time, energy, love and support to help and befriend those with special needs. He has committed to completing the entire six-week trip to raise funds for the Friendship Circle in West Hartford. The five cyclists hope to raise $75,000.
A student at Yeshiva Chovevei Torah in Brooklyn, New York, Black has managed to balance his rigorous Torah study schedule and with his penchant for athletics. This year, while training for his bike ride, he also trained – and ran – in the rigorous New York City and Miami marathons.
The Bike 4 Friendship ride kicked off from Poway Chabad Synagogue located in the San Diego suburb of Poway, which on April 27 of this year was the site of a devastating antisemitic attack that left one women dead and several others injured– including the congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein. It was dedicated to the memory of Lori Kaye-Gilbert z”l, 60, who was killed in the April 27 attack.
“Seventy-eight days ago, there was a moment of darkness when the terrorist entered our sanctuary. But right after that, a lot of light started to come,” said Goldstein, speaking to those gathered to see the bike riders begin their journey. “What’s happening today is we have a group of young men who is responding to my call to action: To do goodness and kindness to others. … What these young men are doing is a lot of light.”
The Friendship Circle was a cause close to Kaye-Gilbert’s heart. She founded organization’s San Diego chapter.
“Lori did kindness just to do kindness, and we want the world to start doing that,” said Goldstein. “The Friendship Circle is curing the biggest disease – which is loneliness.
Averaging 85 miles a day, the cyclists will visit local Friendship Circle chapters in many of the cities on their route. Some of these local chapters have organized ride-along events to coincide with Bike 4 Friendship’s ride in the city. The bike ride, which ends on Sunday, August 25, is taking riders on a trek through rustic American towns and major cities, national and state parks, Indian reservations and lush, green landscapes.
For more information on the Friendship Circle and how you can help Noach reach his goal, visit www.teamfriendship.org/bike4friendship/NoahBlack or www.friendshipcirclect.com.
Main photo: Noah Black (2nd from left), and his fellow Bike 4 Friendship riders, get ready to hit the road after dipping their bikes in the Pacific Ocean at the start of trip in Poway California.