On Sunday September 7, 2014, a team of five bicycle riders representing Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim of Cranford and Westfield joined 5,000 riders in New York City for the annual Transportation Alternatives NYC Century Ride.  Led by Cantor and Education Director Benjamin Kintisch, the group included his wife Elana Hoffman, his daughter Dalia Jean, former Temple President Elliot Ballen, and his friend from work Martha.  

The team completed a 35 mile bike ride throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Their ride supported the life-saving efforts of a NYC non-profit called Transportation Alternatives (transalt.org), which works to make New York’s streets safer for bicycle riders and pedestrians.

Cantor Benjamin Kintisch said, “I have worked with Transportation Alternatives as a volunteer activist and fundraiser for several years. Even though my family has moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey, we care deeply about the safety of our former neighbors in New York.”

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The Temple team, representing TBEMC, was the first ever fundraising team organized by a religious organization in support of the life-saving work of Transportation Alternatives. Cantor Kintisch had great success in his appeal to congregants. The generous members of the Temple community helped the Cantor raise over $800 in just under 48 hours. Former Temple President Elliot Ballen commented, “It was a great ride. The view from the Brooklyn Bridge and the RFK Bridge was amazing.”

Many congregants who couldn’t join the ride this year expressed interest in riding in next year’s ride. Cantor Kintisch thanks all of the congregants who gave to this important charity. He said, “Even though I’m new to the Temple, our membership has been so welcoming to my family and generous to support my charitable efforts. I was so impressed by how many families and individuals chose to make a donation in my honor.”

Little Dalia Jean Kintisch, a 3 ½ year old, is too small to pedal, but enjoyed the ride from her perch in the child seat on the back of his bike. Upon stopping at a rest stop at the middle of the ride, she exclaimed, “A playground! A playground! It’s purple and pink! My favorite colors!”

Cantor Kintisch is bringing his interest in promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety to Cranford and the surrounding areas. He has joined Cranford Community Connection, a new organization organized by the Township of Cranford to promote health, wellness and fitness among residents. Cantor Kintisch will be organizing family-friendly bicycle rides for members of Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim and the local community in future months. If you want to learn more about bicycling in the community, or if you'd like to help Cantor Kintisch promote bike safety in the area, please be in touch with Cantor Kintisch at (908)276-7351 or email cantor@tbemc.org.