As I walked onto the train today, I noticed a guy wearing an IDF shirt. As I proceeded to find my seat, I noticed a guy who looked Israeli staring at me. He says “do you know there’s a rally at 12:30 today, you should go.” We’re taught from when we’re babies that you shouldn’t talk to strangers; especially on a train. But this was different. Am Yisrael is one big family. So I answered him “Yup, I know and I’m very excited.”
I land at Penn Station and start walking to the rally. As I get closer to the location, I can instantly begin to pick out who’s on the same journey as me. Well it turned out that over 15,000 people took a similar journey. They left their families, offices, and lives to show NY’s solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel. When was the last time you saw the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox sects of Judaism come together on one stage? How about Republicans and Democrats? Senior citizens, adults, teens, and children, united with one goal? The single issue that we put all of our differences aside for is ISRAEL. Israel is the reason that we all came together today to show our support.
Tens of politicians and community leaders spoke today about our unwavering support of Israel and the strength of the Jewish community. An African American reverend from Harlem got up and spoke about how the Jewish people have always been there for the African American community in the past. Whether it be participating in the March on Washington or sending humanitarian aid to Haiti, we have always been allies with the African Americans. Not because their skin is a different color than ours but rather that they are human beings and everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
Members of congress spoke about legislation that passed unanimously in the House and Senate in support of Israel and her right to defend herself. Ambassador Ron Prossor spoke about how good Israelis feel when they see our support. But the overall message today was that the Jewish community needs to continue to be unified.
Unfortunately, tragedy brought us together this time but it’s time for us to start celebrating happy events too. At a sad event it’s customary to say “we should only see each other at Smachot” and it’s time we take that to heart. Today was proof that it’s possible for our very vibrant and diverse Jewish community to come together. I can’t wait to see you all soon.