My Journey at America's Largest Pro-Israel Rally

November 15, 2023
Emma Gornstein

Ardsley, New York, USA

Class of 2025

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Throughout my life, especially in this past month with the war in Israel, I have been searching for ways to help, not just spread awareness or raise money, but a way to make an immediate impact and one that will go down in history. Yesterday, I was privileged to attend America's largest pro-Israel rally ever. I had the opportunity to reunite with friends from across the Order and band together to stand up for what we believe in together, united. 

The Jewish people truly came together, and it showed. As I entered the event, I immediately saw people working to remove graffiti or swastikas and antisemitic writing that was placed by the Pro-Palestinian protest just a few days earlier. I was nervous; there were many risks, but as I walked hand in hand with my friends, listening to the Israeli music that I've grown up listening to my entire life, I realized this fear was precisely why I must do this. I needed to do this so our future generations are not scared to show their outward support to Israel and be proud of their Jewish identity. 

One moment of my experience in particular was when I was separated from my friends. I was panicking, and tears began to fall down my face. Almost immediately, a group of women took me into their group and calmed me down; they gave me tissues and water and comforted me, telling me everything was going to be okay because “we are Jewish, we take care of each other.” When this was all happening, I turned around and guess who I saw; somehow, in a crowd of over 3,000 people, I saw my friend from my teen tour two summers ago. I was extremely panicked, so I immediately hugged her and cried. I was overwhelmed with emotion, from anxiety to fear to pure relief to be with a friend again. My friend and I got help from a Magen David Adom worker from Israel who brought us all the way to the front, where I was reunited with my friends and greeted with hugs and relief because I knew they were looking for me, too!  In that moment of intense emotion, I realized that the lyric “you're never alone when you say you’re a Jew” was not just a saying but a fact because you truly are never alone.

November 14th, 2023, will forever be remembered as the day that the Jews of America came together as one to combat antisemitism and stand up for Israel, but above all, a day of solidarity for the soldiers, the kidnapped, and every person who has experienced antisemitism. We have said never again before, but now we aren’t just saying it; we are telling you. Never, ever, again.

Emma is a BBG living in Ardsley NY she loves baking!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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