Today we’re going to take a tour through some of the most relevant sayings in our history and our tradition.
We came together on Tuesday, ‘K’ish Echad B’lev Echad’ - 'as one person, with one heart' representing Rockland's Jewish community at the once-in-a-generation March in Washington DC. We joined 290,000 others with the same purpose. To Stand with Israel, Stand with the hostages, Stand against antisemitism. It was the largest gathering of Jews in the history of the United States, and one of the largest in Jewish history.
We can be proud that Rockland stood up to be counted.
- Federation brought 550 people in 10 buses in partnership with JCC Rockland and the participation of several community organizations
- These included participants from 50 organizations including 4 from among our non Jewish allies, and included 4 sifrei torah and 6 minyanim
- 3 additional buses with 165 people that Federation arranged for other Jewish schools and organizations in Rockland
- Hundreds of Rocklanders who came with other buses, planes, trains, and automobiles, some coordinated and facilitated with us.
What was truly beautiful to see among our participants was the diversity of our riders, the mutual respect and care, the sense of purpose, and shared experience. Our participants came from every element of our community. All together. All united. All with conviction, love, and determination. And the same goes for almost 300,000 attendees. ‘Mi K’Amcha Yisrael?’ Indeed, ‘Who is like unto your people, Israel?’
As I wrote to our hundreds of Washington riders yesterday, now it is OUR responsibility to remember this feeling and never let it go. Yes, that includes the anger and the sadness. ‘Zechor, Al Tishkach’ ‘Remember, do not forget!’ But it also includes the sense of purpose, the common destiny, the understanding that the world has changed and though we do have some friends, we can have no more illusions about those who turned away from us in our time of need. Most importantly, we’ve all become overnight experts in understanding the Talmudic dictum: ‘Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze Baze.’ ‘All of Israel is responsible for one another.’ We are truly understanding that in ways that have been forgotten for decades and more.
That is the concept that underwrites everything we do at Federation, from supporting Holocaust survivors to empowering teen leaders. From standing up for Israel to ensuring our community is safe. From convening for celebration to collective action. Everything we do, we do it because we are all responsible for each other, and your Federation is uniquely placed, uniquely connected, uniquely empowered to demonstrate that responsibility - that all of us now understand so well - every single day.
I’ll close with one last saying, one that has been less commonly used but is in my thoughts - in flaming letters - 24/7. ‘Am Hanetzach Lo Mefached!’ ‘The eternal people does not fear!’ We have no illusions. We know the nature of our enemies, our adversaries, their ‘useful tools’ and their apologists. There is no more business as usual for the Jewish people. There is no turning away from the challenge. And there is purposeful responsibility to motivate each one of us.