When telling people about our trip, we have received varied responses: “WHAT?!” from our parents, incredulous looks of disbelief from our friends, and huge smiles from our future chiropractors. But no matter the initial response, one question was universal: “Are you crazy?” Our response? “We certainly are!”

Some of the reasons we chose to go on this trip:

First and foremost is our admiration for the Friendship Circle. When Zalmi asked us to join the trip, we thought he was joking. How could we possibly pull off a stunt of this magnitude? We’re young guys, still in school, learning almost the whole day. When would we find time to train and prepare? But when he told us about the Friendship Circle connection, that is when we signed on. We each had previous connections to children, adults, friends or relatives with special needs. We’d participated in Friendship Circle events and camps. We understood that the “special” in “special-needs children” refers to their lofty souls and holy existence. So when we heard about the cross-country biking trip to raise awareness for Friendship Circle, we decided to take on the challenge.

In addition, as rabbinical students and future rabbis, we recognized the outreach potential in the trip. We realized we would have the opportunity to meet many Jews living in remote communities with little connection to Judaism. Biking through so many small towns, and telling our story along the way, would be a great way to meet these people. We may meet people and have experiences that will change lives.

Along the way, we can dispel some myths and stigmas about rabbis. We are not all elderly, with long white beards and big bellies, constantly hovering over books. We do not all possess Eastern European accents and a lack of worldly knowledge. We hope to show people that rabbis are regular people too. If rabbis can bike across America, maybe rabbis aren’t quite so scary after all.

And so, while we may indeed be crazy to undertake this trip, there is a method to our madness.

Route the bikers will take this summer
Route the bikers will take this summer