Rank and File: Biking the US for MS

Bill Slott raises nearly $10,000 for multiple sclerosis research, President Reuven Rivlin honors Telfed organization and 15 Bnei Menashe couples get remarried in mass ceremony in northern Israel

Steve Klein
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Bill Slott with his bike after completing the TransAm journey to San Francisco Bay, August 2, 2018.
Bill Slott with his bike after completing the TransAm journey to San Francisco Bay, August 2, 2018.Credit: Hadas Tal
Steve Klein

BACK IN THE SADDLE: When Kibbutz Ketura member Bill Slott set out from Yorktown, Virginia, in June to bike the TransAm route with a team of cyclists representing Bike the US for MS, he never imagined running into the dog in Western Kentucky that would derail his journey for three weeks with a broken elbow. However, he rejoined his biking buddies in Colorado for the final 2,250 kilometers (1,400 miles), arriving at San Francisco Bay last Thursday. Despite raising nearly $10,000, the Maryland native played down his accomplishments. The real heroes are the people with MS, he insisted. “They are physically challenged every second of the day, for [them] walking is like getting up the Sierra Nevada range. We’re just having fun,” he said. Slott said he was inspired to ride for the nonprofit in part because of a friend and neighbor who died of MS in April. To contribute to Bill’s campaign, visit http://biketheusforms.org/.  

THE FIFTH TRIBE: Celebrating 70 years of service to the local immigrant community, over two dozen volunteer and professional representatives from Telfed – South African Zionist Federation (Israel) met with President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence on Tuesday. “He was very animated throughout the conversation,” said Telfed’s Dorron Kline. Rivlin had spoken of four tribes in Israel but added there is actually a fifth: Jews from the Diaspora, Kline said, “who bring with them a special added benefit.” Rivlin also recalled that Betar members from South Africa were instrumental in founding Herut (the political forerunner of Likud). “There was quite a number of Betarim in the delegation that came,” noted Kline, who added that Rivlin took a special picture just with the former Betar members in the group. Telfed Chairwoman Batya Shmukler, past Chairman Hertzel Katz and Youth Committee member Shiri Berzack spoke at the event about different aspects of Telfed.

COUPLING UP: Fifteen Bnei Menashe couples, all of whom immigrated to Israel from Manipur, India, two months ago, were remarried on Monday in a festive group ceremony at Shavei Israel’s absorption center in Kfar Hasidim, northern Israel, after completing their formal conversion. The 15 couples were among 225 new Bnei Menashe immigrants who arrived in Israel in June through the auspices of Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel, founded by native New Yorker Michael Freund. The Bnei Menashe believe they are descendants of the lost tribe of Manasseh, and 3,500 of them have moved to Israel with Freund’s help. “They have now been remarried in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, which symbolizes the new lives they are building here in the Jewish state,” said Freund. “I feel like we’ve come home,” said Hillel Hangshing, 80, who was joined in Jewish matrimony with his wife, Sharon. “Israel is like coming to paradise on Earth.”

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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