Thank you for showing up. 30,000 proud leading the historic march on Washington for Israel with a total of 300,000 strong. On October 7th everything changed for us as a people, for your generation and for mine too. But seeing you standing there in Washington on November 14th, standing with pride, in unity and resolved to act, brought a ray of light to this ever so dark time in humanity’s history. You shared your thoughts and worries about the present and dreams and hopes for the future. The words you used that day gave us all permission to be afraid, while feeling strong; be confused, while having clarity; feel helpless while feeling empowered; feel shame while feeling pride. In your words, “a plurality of opinion and debate is important, it’s also very Jewish.” And I would add, it is quintessentially Young Judaean.
We are sorry.
What a world, what a world that you’ve inherited.
Who ever thought that in our lifetime, “never again” would have been forgotten?
Who ever thought that in our beloved country, the one that welcomed your grandparents with open arms and the American dream,
There would be shouting of death to the Jews, from the river to the sea, an actual living nightmare. This generation is the woke generation, and yet, for all our wokeness, we will never be one of them. We will always remain other, but somehow, we are still seen as the oppressor and never as the oppressed.
Now, I am not saying we don’t have to check our immense privilege, and we do, it is on us to take responsibility for what we do. But history is showing us that not even that privilege will protect us when they come for you.
So, you might ask, what is one to do?
Don’t be ashamed.
Stand proud, Shma Israel, for five thousand years our people have proclaimed their faith
Don’t lose your way.
Stand on principles, Am kadosh, we must earn our blessedness with every spoken word and action taken.
Don’t be cynical.
Stand with idealism, B’emunah shlemah, and tap into that inner optimist.
Stand with hope, Hatikvah, it is our secret Jew power.
Don’t stand on the sidelines.
Stand ready to act, Na’ase v’nishma, we are a people of action and not just words.
Don’t let them divide us.
Stand with open hearts, Am echad im lev echad, one heartbeat, one people.
Don’t do this alone.
Stand together , Ani v’ata, together, you and I will change the world.
As you return to your schools and campuses, we know we have a lot of work to do. But as it has been Jewish tradition for millennia, we refuse to stop celebrating when we’re together, we refuse to pause any practice of Judaism, and despite all the good and the bad, we will never stop choosing life.
Am Israel Chai.
With deepest admiration,
Adina Hocsman Frydman, CEO of Young Judaea Global