NEW HAVEN — For New Haven residents Dov and Nechama Langenauer, this Israel trip will be different from all previous trips Dov will be viewing Israel from his bike, and Nechama will be supporting riders on the Wheels of Love International Alyn Charity Bike Ride. The ride will take place November 9 – 13 and will benefit Alyn Hospital, Israel’s premier Pediatric and Adolescence Rehabilitation Center.
The Langenauers, Westville residents for 43 years and grandparents of seven, have a very strong connection to Israel. They have an apartment in Jerusalem, and many family members who live in the Jewish state, including an adult son studying in yeshivah.
“My parents came to Israel after the Holocaust,” notes Nechama, “I was born in Israel and lived there until I was nine. It was always my parents’ dream to go back.”
For Nechama, this trip will be a poignant one. Her father, Rabbi Avraham Eliezri, died in January, 2007 and was buried in Beit Shemesh, and her mother, Shalva Eliezri, died just fifteen months after later. Her three siblings and many other relatives will be in Israel for her mother’s unveiling, which will take place several days following the bike ride.
Dov, a child psychiatrist, who works at Saint Frances Hospital in Hartford, and serves as medical director of the adolescent inpatient unit at Hartford’s Mount Sinai Hospital, playfully explains why he is participating in this years’ Alyn ride. “I love bike riding, and I love Israel. It is a way to combine two of my three loves!” He then remembers that his wife will be joining him as a volunteer and corrects himself, noting that he can combine all three of his loves. Langenauer adds, “It is a chance to help and support a tremendous hospital, devoted to children with severe disabilities.”
With Nechama leaving for Israel ahead of her husband, Dov can focus on training for the ride, and continue getting sponsors. “I am working on building my distance,” he reports.
If the experience of fellow bike rider, Rabbi Joel Levenson of Congregation B’nai Jacob in Woodbridge is informative, perhaps Langenauer should focus on the hills as well. “I rode my bike from Jerusalem to Eilat with the 2004 Hazon/Arava Israel bike ride. On our way out of Jerusalem, we made our way up Nes HeHarim – Miracle of the Mountain. After cycling to the top, we said to each other that the ‘miracle’ was that we made it to the top!” Levenson notes.
Langenauer remains very upbeat and excited. “Riding in Israel always gives one the feeling of being both in the present and the past. Each view, each landmark is a connection to our religious and national past”.
Those wishing to sponsor Dov Langenauer’s ride and support Alyn Hospital may send a check made out to “American Friends of Alyn Hospital” to Dr. Dov Langenauer, 2115 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06515. For more information, visit: http://www.alynride.org