By Emily Goldberg, Publication Manager and Layout Editor
This article was written on November 14, 2023.
It is hard to believe that it has been 38 days since October 7. 912 hours. 54,720 minutes. 3,283,200 seconds and counting. The power of such numbers can be astounding. Although in some ways it feels as though time has stopped; this past month has felt like an eternity.
It’s been far too long since that horrific day. An abhorrently increasing number of people have risen against Israel’s existence and continue to do so. Yet, as history seemingly repeats itself again and again, the Jewish people continue to stick together just as we always have, shouting louder than ever with each and every breath.
That is why, on November 14, 2023, hundreds of thousands of people came together in Washington D.C. to stand up for the state of Israel. This rally was hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America and Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and had three prominent goals. First and foremost, those in attendance advocated for the steadfast support of Israel’s right to defend itself. The rally also aimed to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of anti-semitism across the world. Finally, attendees demanded the release of all hostages being held captive by Hamas. Many communities went out of their way to make it to this event, traveling from near and far in order to attend; a testament to its utmost importance.
People from all walks of life attended this rally. As I walked throughout the national mall, I saw a unified body composed of many different types of people from many different backgrounds, speaking numerous languages. Different sects of Jews, both religious and secular, and even people of other religions, gathered together at the nation’s capital. Individuals from different states, countries, and cultures assembled to speak out for the hope of a better future, one built on the shared principle of morality. Despite our differences, the diversity within this crowd exemplified that you do not have to come from a specific community to denounce the atrocities committed by Hamas. You just have to be human.
Throughout the rally, numerous government officials, families of hostages, and public figures shared heartfelt words with attendees, pleading for the safe return home for the captives and for the US government’s unwavering assistance to Israel. Signs at the rally included inspiring messages such as, “Our love is stronger than their hate” and “I promise to love being Jewish more than anyone hates me for it.” Additionally, people could be heard chanting phrases such as, “Bring them Home!” and “Am Yisrael Chai!” Even with the enormous crowd chanting, the national mall was bone-chillingly quiet for a moment of silence in honor of the individuals who are still being held captive by Hamas.
Even with this sense of community, it is devastating to see the Jewish nation experiencing extreme hatred yet again. In a speech given at this rally by video all the way from Yerushalayim, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog stated, “Once again in Jewish history, we demand, let our people go!” The Jewish nation has fought for our freedom generation after generation in the face of antisemitism. Despite this, Herzog stressed that the Jewish nation will always prevail, because “we, the people of Israel, are eternal, and no one will break us.” The Jews are fighting on the side of truth and virtue, and that is why we will always win.“Above all, we come together to march for good over evil, for human morality over bloodthirst,” continued Herzog. “We march for light over darkness.”
After the rally, as I was walking down the sidewalk on my way back to the metro, I overheard a conversation between two individuals. One person asked the other, “If we get separated, I’ll meet you on seventh street?” As they were navigating their way through the crowd, the other answered, “Nah, we are not getting separated.” Although they were merely talking about logistics, this simple exchange represents the larger overarching connection between the Jewish people that this rally brought to light. At the end of the day, as Jews, we must all stick together and stand up for one another against our enemies. Not only on a national level, but also during our day to day lives, because we are all part of one nation. As President Herzog said, “We feel our hearts beat as one. We hear our brothers’ and sisters’ blood crying out to us from the ground.” All Jews are united, and when one Jew is in pain, the rest of us feel it too. We will not rest until all our brothers and sisters are safe.
So despite the fact that 54,720 minutes have passed since October 7, around 290,000 people showed up to D.C. on Tuesday because the Jewish nation is bigger than hatred and stronger than evil. We will never give up hope.
If anything, this rally accomplished one thing: it made the Jewish nation’s message to the world quite clear; We are still here, and we’re not going anywhere.
Photo Credit: Nechama Heit