Julie Aberman-Hochstadter’s wheels are always turning. As the director and community connector at the Chainlink, a Chicago bicycling online community, she is providing a space for bikers to connect and find community.
Julie bikes everywhere (she gave up her car) and organizes events and rides for others who want to join her. She also travels to Israel (we’re guessing by plane, but you never know) often for biking trips and to lead college students on Birthright trips. She loves Israel and is passionate about Jewish-Muslim co-existence – she has even organized two Jewish-Muslim bike rides.
“She’s less than five feet tall, but stands head and shoulders above most people of any age when it comes to getting things done in the cycling world,” said friend and nominator Kathryn Schubert.
What else? Well, she got married one year ago to her husband Ari at JCC Camp Chi, she’s a real estate agent, the best way to reach her is via text and she hosts a community garden in her own front yard. Thanks for taking us along for the ride, Julie!
Director and community connector at The Chainlink Bicycle Community and licensed real estate agent who cycles to many showings.
On the side:
Animal lover, friend, bike ride and event organizer.
Married to the most amazing guy for one year. Did I mention he's not a biker and I still love him? :)
How do you give back?
Continue to run The Chainlink with my main focus on creating a "giving circle" foundation that allows the community to collectively raise money, in essence, for themselves. I'd also participate yearly on the Arava/Hazon bike rides in Israel and NYC. I'd love to volunteer with Women Bike Chicago and travel including volunteering on a Lion Refuge in South Africa and to study at both Kibbutz Lotan's Center for Creative Ecology, and take courses at The Machon Arava (Institute) at Kibbutz Ketura. My dream is also to organize and lead a Birthright By Bike trip with Shorashim.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Passionate about connecting good people and creating community.
Celebrity doppelganger/who would play you in a movie:
A friend told me I remind him of Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, played by Amy Poehler. In his words, "She is very positive and idealist and dedicated to her passions and helps everyone tirelessly." Another friend said Mayim Bialik, which I like ’cause she's Jewish.
How do you Jew in Chicago?
I enjoy being an ambassador of sorts by showing all people that Jews can be involved in Jewish related activities as well as other community building activities that give back to everyone. My favorite activities combine biking and Jewish themes that non-Jews can enjoy and learn from as well. Most recently this includes the Jewish-Muslim Bike Rides where we visit Jewish and Muslim religious centers and the Illinois Holocaust Museum Rides. In the past it was organizing and promoting the Jewish-Muslim Community Building events including Cafe Finjan and Iftar in the Synagogue, and hosting Muslim students visiting Chicago on an environmental internship with Keep Chicago Beautiful and JUF.
Cycling, Jewish-Muslim co-existence, animals, family, community building, social justice, improving the transportation infrastructure for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, travelling, helping the elderly with dementia live a rich and respected life, and of course, community gardens (I host one in my front yard).
Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
Still strong and vibrant, with a growing diversity in ways to celebrate one's Judaism. This includes synagogue and traditional community building as well as growth in more alternative activities and communities like Mishkan and Mitzuit and places for those not comfortable or able to afford a synagogue membership. Chicago has begun that process and I believe it's giving Jews, especially young Jews, more ways to connect with the community.
Me in 10 years:
Doing about exactly what I'm doing now, but with a lot more time to get back to volunteering, and not having to focus all my energy on the business side of things. And, I'd love to be a mom riding my kids around in trailers going to concerts, rallies, farmers’ markets, grocery shopping and more! I'd love to have a second home in Israel!