I Marched in New York for Solidarity With my Jewish Community

January 5th 2019, I woke up and went into New York City with my dad and Aunt Val. Covered from head to toe to stay warm for my trek from Foley Square, across the Brooklyn Bridge, to Cadman Plaza Park. Posters in hand, anger, sadness, and excitement in my heart. 

 

We arrived at Foley Square and came across the Jewish Federation of Cleveland Ohio, and a few other federations from places so far outside of the Tri-State Area that I was absolutely shocked that they came from so far away to march for a cause they believe in. Despite how amazing I thought this was, I was confused, the meeting spot for my area’s federation was in the park next to Foley Square and there was not a lot of people. I was disappointed at the turnout. We exited the park and walked into Foley Square and my expectations were immediately exceeded I was crammed in the center of the biggest most passionate Jewish community I have ever been apart of. 

 

Arms cramping, I held my poster that read “They warned me about this in hebrew school” to the sky. Thousands surrounding me singing hebrew songs, dancing, chanting. In that moment, we are Monsey, Jersey City, Crown Heights, and more. We began marching, marching for the people that can’t. Marching for the people like me who deserve the right to exist peacefully in their places of worship, their own homes, the supermarket, in the world that should accept them. We get onto the bridge with cars driving around, still chanting and singing. I reflected on how incredible it is to be a part of this community who despite our differences comes together in our times of need. The thing I love most about being Jewish is the community, we all cry for a family in need, whether familiar with them or not, we feel pride for a success in communities across the world. 

 

We saw Brooklyn at our feet, I heard the voice of a mother crying about her shock at the support of her community marching for her son who was murdered at the hands of anti-semitism. I saw the press interviewing people who marched, I saw families rolling their signs back up, people taking pictures of themselves with their signs. 

 

I am so proud to be a part of the Jewish community, and while right now is a scary time to be Jewish I am not afraid. Maybe I’m privileged, when I was a kid I didn’t know a lot of Jewish people, in High School I experienced a lot of anti-semitism, if the world were like this then, I would be terrified. But today I am proud of my Jewish identity, I go to a school with a large Jewish population and I am free to be myself completely without fear of persecution. I feel empowered, I feel unafraid.