Story-ideas-1011172

It isn't only in America

  • riders home
Yids and their Harleys are quite a story. We found this out when we covered last weekend's rally in SA where they ha a minyan, and then we checked out the US...
by ANT KATZ | Feb 23, 2016

Harley Davidson had deep Jewish roots. In 1901, 20-year-old William Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson and they worked on their in Milwaukee machine shop a mutual friend, Henry Melk – the latter both Jewish. They were later joined by Arthur's brothers, Walter and William.

American Jewish Harley bikers are a breed of their own, while fitting surprisingly closely to the SA Jewish professional profile.

riders shirtThey have special bike mezuzim and cleverly-named clubs such as “Star of Davidson Motorcycle Club” which has a T-shirt motto: ''My hog is kosher'' - and an equally appropriate slogan: ''We're loud, we're proud, we're Hebrew.''




RIGHT: 
Harley owners love their Paraphernalia at the best of times. But when it’s Jewish Harley owners, one is looking for a special mezuzah for one’s ride, the t-shirts and other items – just stay clear of the neo-Nazi stalls (and bikers) – although it seems that Harley owners get along, whatever one’s personal brand may be

RidersBorn and stayed a
Jewish company

JR’s chief photographer, Ilan Ossendryver, says Harley was still headed by Jews in the 1990s – when Ilan had to travel to a convention with his then-employer.

“After giving his opening speech, says Ilan, the Harley “CEO  called for a Minyan.”

Another group of about 50 New York Jewish bikers call themselves “The Chai Riders” which was founded in the 90s by Lauren Secular, a Manhattan accountant.

Then there are the “Hillel's Angels” and even a club of Jewish in New York lawyers who call themselves “The Goniffs”.

The big Canadian Jewish club are “The Yowies” (an abbreviation for Yiddim on Wheels). Below are some of the bigger American Harley club's badges 




Several Jewish-branded clubs that attend the annual Dayona Week pilgrimage to Florida, which attracts close to 0ne million riders, have to observe bilateral courtesies with neo-Nazi clubs and keep out of each other’s way. As one Jewish Harley-owner put it, ''I ignore the booths full of Nazi memorabilia.''

One can probably take it for granted that the other side will be ignoring the booths selling bike mezuzot and other Semitic paraphernalia.

  • There is also at least one Harley Club in Israel.




Also read: OLD RIDERS DON’T DIE, THEY JUST LOSE THEIR HAIR posted on Sunday. So many Jews went on this year’s annual Harley “Route 62 Rally” that they even organised a Shabbos dinner in Montagu. A stalwart of the event, Michael Bagraim (pictured) told Jewish Report Online that he was amazed at how many Jewish riders had turned up among the 700-odd attendees. One of the Cape Yids hired a special chalet which accommodated a minyan and a Shabbos dinner for some of the riders, some of whose rides can cost over R1-mil.

 

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