Emily K. Alhadeff Associate Editor, The Jewish Sound
You might expect to see a line of motorcycles parked outside a dive bar, but lined up outside a Jewish assisted living facility — you might do a double take.
That was the scene on the sunny Sunday morning of August 24, when the Tribe, Seattle’s Jewish motorcycle club, pulled up to the Kline Galland Home.
About 14 members of the Tribe spent two hours chatting with elderly residents over coffee and donuts before riding down to Seward Park for the annual picnic they sponsor for Jews with Disabilities. This was the first time they had visited Kline Galland as a group. The idea came from two Tribe members who have parents living there.
Rosie Coe, the only female rider that day, visited with her mother, Perla Schneider.
“Mom, were you afraid when I started riding motorcycles?” Coe asked her mother.
“I thought you were in good hands,” Schneider responded, referring to Coe’s fiancé, Bruce Lobree, who got her into the hobby.
Lobree’s leather riding vest is covered in patches. One is a yellow star with “never again” written across it. Another is a Star of David that says “proud Jewish biker.” And of course, in the center of his back is his own club’s patch, a Star of David in flames, above it a Torah scroll unfurled that reads “The Tribe.”
“When I heard about the Tribe it was like this camaraderie,” said Coe. “It’s special because we’re all Jews, and we all ride motorcycles. It’s pretty cool.”
According to the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance, “The common thread is our religion; however membership or admittance to our member clubs is not dictated by faith or brand of motorcycle: riders of any denomination or brand of bike are welcome.” Clubs around the country go by names like Chai Riders, Hillel’s Angels, Shalom n’ Chrome, and the Rebbe’s Riders.
The group consists of all types of Jews, from the very involved to the unaffiliated.
“Some people say we’re an eating club with a riding habit,” said Myles Kahn, a rider and the vice president of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. “We all get along and we all have a common background.”
Jeff Kay, the unofficial leader, looks like a tough guy, but he has a soft spot for organizing Jewish community.
“I’m a very firm believer in bringing Jews together around a shared interest,” he said. “This is one of them.”