Yesterday, I had an opportunity to speak with emerging leaders from many non profit organizations around Rockland. As I spoke about how the Jewish community is dealing with the shock and distress of October 7th, I asked how many of them had reached out to a Jewish friend in the aftermath, just to see how they were doing.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting to see too many hands raised. My own experience was that several colleagues had come to our rally and a few had reached out to me subsequently - but not many. So I was glad to see that almost every one of the 25 or so people in the group raised their hands.
Anecdotally, I have been hearing of strangers walking up to Jewish people and sharing their solidarity on the street, in grocery stores and other places. So we can draw some strength from knowing we have friends. It is incumbent on all of us to thank them.
But we also have adversaries.
They are loud. Many of them are angry. Some of them are threatening.
I wrote a few weeks ago about overcoming fear. Now, it is our responsibility to stand up and see how strong we are.
We can and must embrace our fellow Jews. A united community can overcome anything.
We can and must teach our children about their proud heritage and our deep, abiding connection to our ancestral, indigenous homeland. Developing Jewish pride is the best weapon to combat antisemitism.
We can and must advocate to our representatives - from the town hall to the White House - that our community has expectations that we will not be silent about. And we are not silent. Next week, hundreds of thousands of Jews and allies will stand in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC to demonstrate our strength, and our solidarity with Israel. We will tell congress and the President that we are grateful for their solidarity thus far, but we must be certain of continued and enhanced support for Israel; certain that everything is being done to free the 240 hostages; certain that Israel’s hands will not be tied in eradicating Hamas and erasing their memory. And we will show our adversaries that we are stronger than they imagine; more united than we have ever been; and determined to accomplish our goals.
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