By Yaira Katz
Growing up, I’ve always been a bit of a crybaby. Not because I want to be, but because I am generally a sensitive person. I feel things very strongly. Controlling my knee-jerk response to a sharp word or unexpected rebuke can be difficult.
Since Hamas began its brutal assault on innocent Israeli civilians, I hadn’t quite known what I felt. Was it fear? Was it loss? Was it anger? Hate? Grief? Possibly all of the above.
The thing is, even a few days after Simchat Torah, I, the crybaby, still had not cried. It worried me. Was I not actually upset? I had always thought of myself as a sensitive person. I felt like I had somehow failed to feel the correct emotions.
Then I went to a rally.
On October 9, 2023, I attended a rally in support of the State of Israel and its people outside of the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan. Suddenly, I could really feel! I felt energized. It was as if being surrounded by my people, holding blue and white flags, had flipped the “on switch” of emotion inside me. I sang my heart out to Hatikvah, participated in the biggest- and loudest- recitation of the Shema I have ever witnessed, and danced to songs praising G-d’s protection and love for the Jewish people.
I could finally start to feel, but something was still not right. My emotions were ones of simcha (happiness), achdus (unity), and love. Where were my tears for the brothers and sisters of my people who had been murdered and mutilated? Why didn’t I cry when I looked across the street where people rallied in support of terror?
I read their signs: “resistance is not terrorism,” “stand with Palestine, end the occupation now,” “zionism is genocide,” “zionism is racism,” and “stop Israeli apartheid.”
I saw their faces: goading, laughing, mocking.
I saw their actions: ripping Israeli flags, rubbing them on their feet. Making cry-baby motions at us like a fifth grade bully.
But this is not fifth grade anymore. This is the real world, and I would not stand for it.
“Busha!” (“shame!”) I screamed. But I could not bring myself to curse them out. At first I wondered if I was being weak; they had no problem doing it to us. Then I remembered that the fifth grade bully peaks in high school, if that.
The rally for Israel chanted in support of the NYPD keeping us safe while the other side flipped them off. The Jewish people mourn for all human losses while the other side rejoices in it. We are not only much stronger than the bullies, but we also stand on the side of truth.
To tell a lie, you must be convincing, you must repeat it over and over. You must drill it into peoples heads.
Have fun shouting, bullies. Let’s see who comes out with the real victory here. I’ll give you a hint: it won’t be you.
Terrorism is terrorism no matter its purpose.
No one should stand with rape, murder, kidnapping, and infanticide.
Zionism is not genocide.
Zionism is not racism.
There is no apartheid in Israel.
The people who bore those signs either have no idea what they are talking about, or they are as detestable as they seem.
I was shaken by seeing the people cheering for Hamas, but they didn’t get to see me cry. That came later, in a safe space with people who cared for me and the truth.
I stood with my people, for my people. In love and in peace, with fraternity and hope. I stood for truth, and I did not shed a tear.
And no one gets to call me a crybaby. Not this time.
Photo Credit: Yael Evgi