A group of cyclists is on a cross-country journey from Poway to New York to help families who have children with special needs, and the five men started their ride at the site of a synagogue shooting that killed one woman in April.
“What’s happening today is we have a group of young men who is responding to my call to action: To do goodness and kindness to others,” said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of the Chabad of Poway.
Goldstein was one of three people injured after a gunman opened fire inside his synagogue on April 27, 2019. Worshipper Lori Kaye-Gilbert was killed.
The rabbi is still recovering from the physical wounds he suffered to his hands from the attack, but he said seeing others do good deeds for their community is helping heal his emotional wounds.
“Seventy-eight days ago, there was a moment of darkness when the terrorist entered our sanctuary. But right after that, a lot of light started to come,” said Goldstein. “What these young men are doing is a lot of light.”
The bike ride benefits The Friendship Circle, a non-profit organization that helps families with special needs children.
“I have a connection to Friendship Circle. My brother who is two years younger than me has autism,” said Moshe Cattan, one of the cyclists who is riding across the county.
Cattan said The Friendship Circle has made a huge difference in his life, and this is his way to give back.
“I just want to get out there and start riding. I just want to do it for the kids. That’s why I’m out here,” said Cattan.
“Lori did kindness just to do kindness, and we want the world to start doing that,” said Goldstein. “The Friendship Circle is curing the biggest disease -- which is loneliness.”
The cross-county bike ride will take about six weeks, and the men hope to raise $75,000.
“It’s a process, and everyone processes it differently, but we are trying to do as much positive things we can. That is our way of recovering,” the rabbi told NBC 7.
For more information on The Friendship Circle, visit its website.