JOHANNESBURG (JTA) — Young black and Jewish cyclists from South Africa joined for a 400-mile journey to Durban as part of the Cycalive outreach program.
The cyclists that left for Durban on Sunday for the 14th annual relay include 40 high school juniors from Johannesburg’s Torah Academy, students from two black schools in Soweto, five Israelis and one student from Durban.
Torah Academy dean Rabbi Dovid Hazdan pledged to send 9,000 schoolbooks, donated by a sponsor, to nine underprivileged schools chosen by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“This sends a message to the youth of South Africa to become involved as real friends, not Facebook friends, not virtual friends, not virtual anything – to be young, active and embrace a wholesome way of life,” Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said in a tribute to Hazdan, who conceived of Cycalive as a nation-building exercise long before this type of outreach became fashionable.
Hazdan announced that upon the cyclists’ return from Durban, the Soweto cyclists would each be presented with a brand new bicycle courtesy of a local sponsor.