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September 22, 2015 5:14 am

Israeli Harley-Davidson Bikers Pray at Western Wall Before Yom Kippur

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

Members of the Harley-Davidson club at the Western Wall. Photo: Tazpit.

Members of the Harley-Davidson club at the Western Wall. Photo: Hillel Maeir /Tazpit.

Among the traditional knitted and velvet kippas of those praying at the Western Wall recently, one particular group stood out with their Harley-Davidson leather vests and black bandanas.

An Israeli group of Harley-Davidson riders made their annual trip to Jerusalem, as part of the traditional pilgrimage that members of the motorcycle club makes to the Western Wall before every Yom Kippur. Holding onto their helmets and prayer books, the bikers arrived from all over Israel to pray at the Kotel.

The group attracted the attention of hundreds of prayer-goers who converge at the Western Wall for the Jewish penitential prayers known as selichot during the days leading up to Yom Kippur. Hearing the roar of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles, passersby greeted the bikers with applause, camera flashes, and selfie requests.

“We came to pray for forgiveness, health, and happiness for our family, friends, and all of the people of Israel,” Arik Eliovich told Tazpit.

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“It’s always amazing to ride through Jaffa Gate and go to the Kotel during this time of year,” added Eliovich, who hails from Tel Aviv and drove to Jerusalem with his wife, Mazal.

The couple has been riding motorcycles for 36 years.

Arik and Mazal are both members of Israel’s Harley-Davidson Club, which is open to anyone who owns a Harley. According to Eliovich, there are about 170 members in the club. Throughout the year, the bikers participate in different group excursions like the Rosh Hashanah motorcycle ride to ancient Masada, where the Israeli bikers welcome the first day of the Jewish New Year.

In Israel, there are approximately 800 owners of the iconic American Harley motorcycle, which was first manufactured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1903.

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