For a couple days, I was debating whether I could go to the rally, who I could go with, and how I would get down there, but I knew I wanted to and I am so grateful that I did.
Ultimately, I went down to DC on Tuesday with my fiancé, my older sister, and a few of my first cousins. Going with family meant the world to me because it added a personal layer to the already emotional and powerful day. My aunt and cousins (on my mom’s side) all live in Israel. The cousins I went to the rally with are cousins on my dad’s side, but they look at my mom’s family as their own family — so we were all there with the same familial tie to Israel and the greater goal of showing support for Israel.
Jews from all over the country, all ages, religious and political backgrounds, converged on the nation’s capital on Tuesday, November 14. All compelled by similar feelings of grief for October 7, those who were lost and those who are still missing, by the alarm over the shocking rise in overt antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world, and by the understanding that moments like this bring out the absolute best in the Jewish community.
The US Capitol juxtaposed with the Israeli flag and a poster with photos of all of the hostages (the entire sign was designed to look like a US flag)
It felt significant to be in the crowd and part of the nearly 300,000 that came to support Israel in-person, but while standing in the crowd I could really only see a small section of the gathering. Looking at the aerial shots of the National Mall brought a whole other layer for me — it literally made me zoom out and further drove home how powerful it is for people to come together to stand, pray, and sing in support of Israel and the Jewish people.
Throughout the afternoon, my phone did not have any service. When I finally got data, my WhatsApp was flooded with messages from the M² team, my Israeli cousins, and other family and friends who had all live-streamed the rally. It was so moving to know that this small act of solidarity and support — one of many over the past weeks — was being seen and felt in Israel.
As someone who works for a Jewish nonprofit, with offices in both the US and Israel and in the field of Jewish education, it is clear to me that showing up and reaching out has become a timely form of Jewish education. Bridging the gaps between different Jewish communities has been critical in coping with the October 7 attacks and the increase in antisemitism in the US and around the world.