Stephanie Z. Bonder

Being There – Americans March for Israel

Hadassah Women March for Israel - Stephanie Z. Bonder second from left

Yesterday, November 14, 2023, I spent the day with an estimated 300,000 Jews and allies in Washington, DC, in support of Israel and against antisemitism. It was a seminal moment in Jewish history. It was stated to be the largest rally ever held in support of Israel. It was extremely important to be part of this historic event.

I went to the March for Israel on a bus filled with my synagogue members, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest, wearing my mantel of a lifetime Hadassah member and leader. I went to the March for Israel as a proud and fervent Zionist, who never hesitates to stand up for what is right and just in the name of Israel and the Jewish People. I went to the March for Israel to show our next generation what is important, and I was thrilled to see many of those young people standing for Israel beside me. As a former teacher at a Jewish Day School, I was proud to see so many of my former students amongst the vast crowd at the Mall, standing up for Israel.

We are at a moment in time in which the haters are showing their true colors and screaming their racist hate against Israel and the Jewish people. They have shown that their anti-Zionism is antisemitism in their speeches and actions. They have shown that their methods for getting their voices heard are violent, aggressive and irrational. They have shown that they represent the ugliest aspects of modern society.

What we have shown in our rally, is that when Jews show up, no one gets hurt. No one vandalizes property. No one spews hate. At our rally, we spoke of the pain that not only the Jews are feeling from this barbaric attack, but also the pain that the Gazan civilians are feeling due to Hamas’s use of human shields and refusals to let Gazan’s escape the battlefield. The IDF is the most moral defense force in the world. Multiple American military leaders have explained that the steps Israel takes to protect innocent civilians are above and beyond what it normal in usual fields of battle. Global military leaders have said that Israel’s IDF is the most humane fighting force. In the past few days, Israeli tanks delivered emergency medical equipment and incubators to Shifa hospital even though it is ground zero for Hamas’s underground headquarters.

I am proud that I went to Washington and heard the multiple speakers inspire the Jewish community and the allied community to stand with Israel. I will never be afraid to wear my Jewish star proudly around my neck. I will never hide my Jewish identity due to the haters who spew their vile against the only Jewish country in the world. I will always raise my voice to support my people wherever they may be. I did it back in 1987, when I marched for Soviet Jewry. I did it in 2002, when I marched for Israel during the Second Intifada, and I did it yesterday. My prayer is that there won’t be a need to march again. But if there is… I will be there.

About the Author
Stephanie Z. Bonder is a proud Jew and lifelong Zionist. Stephanie studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad and is currently pursuing her masters in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University Melton School of Education. In her volunteer hours, she is on the National Board of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America where she currently serves as Chair of the Speakers Bureau and team member of the Education and Advocacy division. Stephanie teaches teens and adults on Jewish Peoplehood, Zionism and current events in Israel through her involvement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest and her synagogue, Congregation Agudath Israel. All of her blogs are her own personal opinions and do not represent the organizations with which she is affiliated.
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