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Flywheel Charity Ride Honors Doctor Slain in Pittsburgh

Charity Ride Group PhotoA former Scarsdale resident wanted to do more than mourn one of the victims of the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday October 27. Leslie Berkowitz decided to organize a charity ride at the Flywheel Studio in Scarsdale to honor Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, who was the husband of one of her oldest friends, Miri Rabinowitz. Berkowitz knew Dr. Rabinowitz since he and Miri met in Pittsburgh in the early ’90’s.

Berkowitz learned that Jerry had arrived at synagogue early on Saturday morning 10/27 as he did every Saturday, to set up for a Torah study session. When he heard gunshots, he ran out of the safety of the Rabbi’s study, to offer help to those who might be wounded and in need of care. Jerry’s immediate decision to risk his own safety resulted in his death; he was gunned down in the hallway, by a murderer who entered the synagogue shouting, “All Jews must die”. However, no one that knew Jerry was surprised to hear that he had run towards the shots; not only was he a physician, who had practiced Family Medicine for over 30 years in Pittsburgh, he was a kind and compassionate man, whose greatest accomplishments were the relationships he developed and cherished, with family, friends and patients.

Why a charity ride? Jerry was an avid cyclist. After diagnosing one of his patients with multiple sclerosis many years ago, he made a commitment to raise money to search for a cure, by riding in the annual 150 mile, 2-day, MS ride. Since 1996, Jerry completed 21 of 22 rides, raising over $16,000 for the MS Society.

Berkowtiz saw the headlines that there were multiple fatalities in the Tree of Life Synagogue when she finished her usual Saturday 9:30 Flywheel class. Fearing the worst she shared her concern that friends Miri and Jerry Rabinowitz, were members of a Congregation which rented space in that Synagogue. Berkowtiz was overwhelmed with the kindness and compassion of everyone she spoke to that morning, and decided to honor Jerry with a ride at the studio.

Twenty riders joined Berkowtiz at the studio on December 9 wearing bow ties (Jerry's signature look). Fly Wheel’s Eve Bondareva led them with a playlist of hits by Bruce Springsteen, The Stones, the Bee Gees, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel (just to name a few). The energy was high and they raised $3,150 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Jerry's honor.

To donate to the Multiple Sclerosis Society in Jerry's name, please click here and follow the instructions on the MS Society website.

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