June 20, 2024
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June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

(Credit: Faygie Levy)

They just kept coming, with their blue and white flags, their signs of support, photos of the missing and dead. They came pushing baby carriers or wheelchairs. They came clutching onto the frames of walkers and, for the youngest among them, clutching Star of David balloons or stuffed animals. They came, more than 5,000 strong, to make clear that their hearts are in the east. That they are thinking of Israel, praying for Israel, singing and gathering for Israel. To make clear to the world that the Jewish people are united as never before.

For two hours, they stood side by side in front of the gazebo at the Livingston Memorial Oval. They stood a stone’s throw away from a memorial to the fallen of 9/11, to commemorate another horrific massacre—Israel’s own 9/11.

Together they sang the national anthems of the United States and Israel. The words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah” echoed across the grass as the flags of both nations twisted and turned in the wind as if the fates of the two nations, allies, were also aligned.

In pockets of solidarity came other groups, members of the Indian community and the Christian community, sharing their pain at what has befallen the Jewish people and Israel, choosing to give up a free Sunday afternoon to stand with the people of Israel in the face of unspeakable inhumanity.

When it was over, when the speeches were done and many of those gathered had headed home, a few hundred people, or maybe fewer, remained. In one corner men gathered for Mincha as the sun began its descent in the late afternoon sky. In another corner, as music continued to play, women danced.

The message was clear. Am Yisrael Chai, the nation of Israel lives.

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