By Yosef Bluth, Staff Writer
Yesterday evening, October 11, 2023, Yeshiva University held an event in Lamport Auditorium called “Standing Together.” This event allowed the YU community to show their support and solidarity for Israel. Standing Together was packed, with so many people coming to defend and advocate for our people, our country, and our homeland. It was so packed, there were long lines to even get into the full auditorium.
The event started with a short but meaningful video showcasing several Jewish rallies around the world over the past few days, as well as clips of soldiers in Israel going off to fight. We then heard from some of YU’s faculty, starting with Vice Provost Dr. Erica Brown, and some moving speeches by Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter and YU’s President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. We also watched a video from Gabi Sackett, YU’s Israel Program Director, who has been called up from reserves to serve in the IDF.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also shared a heartfelt message.
An especially meaningful moment in the program was when two YU students who are veterans of the IDF led our community in reciting tehillim, which was followed by everyone singing Aḥienu together. Dr. Didi Levy, the assistant director of the YU Counseling Center, also shared his own experiences serving in the IDF, and about the importance of taking the time to care for our own mental health in this trying period. Other prominent speakers from the YU community and general New York community, such as Dean Shoshana Shechter, Israeli Consul General Tsach Saar, local Councilwoman Carmen De La Rosa, and Deputy Manhattan Borough President Aya Keefe, spoke in support of Israel. The program ended with everyone singing Am Yisrael Ḥai, followed by the Israeli national anthem of Hatikvah.
This event was an incredibly special experience. To come together as American Jews and Zionists to truly support our nation was inspiring. Our advocacy on behalf of those who are fighting on the front lines is immensely uplifting in this time of chaos and destruction. Moreso, to hear from our YU student veterans about their personal experiences defending our homeland was heartwarming and moving. Hearing from our local politicians, who not only recognized our support for Israel, but stood with us in solidarity, was meaningful and momentous. After a week of so many other rallies and demonstrations across the city, the country, and the world, we were able to add our own YU voice to the chorus of the Jewish people supporting the State of Israel. With our voices raised in prayer and song we will continue to proclaim our love and dedication to our country and people. Am Israel Ḥai!