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Second annual South Jerusalem Friendship Cycle supports children with special needs

The event celebrated more than 13 years of activities and inclusion at the Friendship Circle of South Jerusalem, directed by Rabbi Avraham and Nechama Dina Hendel of Chabad of Baka.

A 40-kilometer bike ride supported the work of the Friendship Circle of Southern Jerusalem, June 2, 2023. Photo by Ben Bresky.
A 40-kilometer bike ride supported the work of the Friendship Circle of Southern Jerusalem, June 2, 2023. Photo by Ben Bresky.

Nearly 50 cyclists set out from Jerusalem’s historic First Station on June 2 for a 40-kilometer bike ride with Kosher Cycle Tours, led by Rabbi Aaron Hurwitz, for the second annual South Jerusalem Friendship Cycle. Riders ranged from age 13 to those in their mid-70s and included volunteers, community members and local yeshivah students.

Basketball star and coach Tamir Goodman played with the kids at the post-event party. Photo by Esther Hadassah.

The event celebrated more than 13 years of activities and inclusion at the Friendship Circle of South Jerusalem, directed by Rabbi Avraham and Nechama Dina Hendel of Chabad of Baka.

It culminated in a lunch and festival at the Baka Community Center for families of kids with special needs and volunteers who have been spending quality time with their special buddies on a weekly basis. Attractions included a petting zoo, an archery station and a United Hatzalah demonstration, as well as interactive sports with Israeli-American basketball star and coach Tamir Goodman.

An added highlight was the 13th birthday celebration of Friendship Circle member Halleli Markowitz. Another young member, DY Adler, celebrated his upsherin at the event, with his Friendship Circle buddies and family friends cutting his first locks of hair.

Corporate sponsors included DC Jewelry, Aviv Basketball Net, Haven Plumbers, Premium Merchant Funding, Rachel’sChildren Reclamation FoundationandSeder Kitchen Renovations, in addition to Holy Bagel, Red Heifer Steakhouse and many others who contribute to support the work of Friendship Circle.

A Friendship Circle mom who has twin boys with Down syndrome shared the following at the end of the festival: “As usual, the event today was beautiful. So many activities! So much food! Each of the kids had a wonderful time. The basketball, the petting zoo, the ambulance, the guitar, the big hearts and smiles of so many volunteers … Good Yiddenwho want to help make someone else feel happy, special, capable and normal. Thank you!”

To find out more about the Friendship Circle of South Jerusalem, visit: chabadofbaka.com.

A party was held following a 40-kilometer bike ride to support the work of the Friendship Circle of Southern Jerusalem, June 2, 2023. Photo by Esther Hadassah.
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Friendship Circle creates friendship in the lives of those with special needs and those facing isolation while providing an opportunity to become a contributing member of the community. Through its programming, Friendship Circle aims to promote an inclusive community that values all individuals, regardless of the challenges they face.
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