I must come clean.
There have been gatherings, rallies, and events in the past that have called for people to show up and support righteous causes, and I made the conscious decision to not show up. Maybe I had a conflict I truly couldn’t shift, or perhaps my anxiety being in large crowds overshadowed my interest in the cause. I don’t think I’m alone in having thought in the past, “There will be others who will show up, so will they really feel the difference if I don’t show up? I’m just one person.”
The March for Israel in Washington, D.C., was historic for several reasons, including that it was the largest gathering for Israel—ever.
290,000 individuals traveled to D.C. to attend the gathering at the National Mall. Together, we sang the national anthem of the United States and “Hatikvah,” the national anthem of Israel. Together, we held signs that stated what communities we were a part of—around me I saw Boston, New York City, New Jersey, San Francisco, Connecticut, Miami—and regardless of what city or state they represented, they all had the same message: “We stand for Israel.” Together, we listened to a range of politicians, celebrities, and U.S. college students speak to the rise of antisemitism. Together, we cried as we heard from the families of hostages, 39 days since the hostages were kidnapped by Hamas. Together, we chanted, “Bring them home.”
Individually, though, we knew the responsibility we each had to show up for this historic moment. 290,000 individuals decided that we could not sit idle and “be okay” not showing up.
For me, the March for Israel felt different than any previous call to action to show up. When it was announced, only eight days prior to the march, there was no question whether I would attend. Federations across the country acted swiftly to organize chartered flights, buses, and carpools to ensure that any community member who wanted to be at the march had a way to get there. Standing alongside 2,000 friends, colleagues, and community members from Boston filled my heart with pride and hope in a time when hope has been difficult to find.
Days following the horrific attacks, a Boston community member reflected on the moment we’re living in. The community member said, “I don’t want to look back at this moment in our history and ask myself if I did everything I possibly could.” That statement has been my guiding light in every decision I’ve made since Oct. 7.
290,000 people decided to show up and stand up for Israel in D.C., and truly, we would have felt the difference had just one person left it up to others to show up. 290,000 people can look back on this moment in our history and say, “I showed up, I was part of this historic gathering, I was one of 290,000.”
I have never felt more compelled to show up and could not be prouder to have been one of 290,000.