This past month has been emotionally draining. Knowing people who were murdered, kidnapped, orphaned, and displaced on October 7 has been horrific. Having children living in a war zone is stressful. The silence from many of our “friends” is deafening. The outright anti-Israel and antisemitism from college campuses, demonstrators, some politicians, the media, and social media is infuriating. Cancelling scheduled Israel trips is disappointing. Fundraising, organizing, and planning is exhausting.
I’m not sharing this personal perspective to make this about me, but rather the backdrop for explaining why Tuesday’s March for Israel in D.C. was so meaningful to me.
While this month has been overall draining, it is important to mention what has been uplifting. The resilience and unity of the Jewish people is reviving. The support from casual friends outside of our Jewish community is encouraging. Letters and acts of support from several of our interfaith friends has been appreciated. Support from most elected officials and all law enforcement has been essential. The incredibly generous financial support from our community is inspiring. The hard work of friends and colleagues is motivating. Reading (while in D.C.) about our 400-strong local rally filled me with pride.
From the moment that we stepped on the bus Monday afternoon until we stepped off early Wednesday morning, Tuesday’s march was energizing in a way that I never could have predicted, spending the whole time insulated from any of the negativity. Our bus drivers opened with, “We want you to know that we fully support your trip and are honored to be driving you.”
Seeing hundreds of people crowded into the Morgan Boulevard public Metro station cheering and singing for Israel was invigorating. Standing with nearly 300,000 supporters of Israel in our nation’s capital, with the world watching, was magical. Spending the day with thousands of young people, including some of my own kids, gives me hope for the future.
I’ve returned invigorated.
Am Yisrael chai!
Photo by Stephen Jaffa, Jewish Federations of North America