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A Day Marked in History: the Washington Rally

Mikaela Garber

Managing Editor

Authorities cite that upwards of 300,000 people attended the pro-Israel Rally in Washington, D.C, on Tuesday, November 14. The rally, hastily put together following the attacks on October 7, featured famous singers and politicians who were confirmed to be speaking only days before the event. The rally aimed to unify the Jewish people and all those who support Israel.

I had the honor of attending the rally by way of the Barrack buses. The first thing that struck me was the energy that ran through everyone on my bus. The long bus ride felt like torture, not because of the actual length of time but because we all wanted to be there already. Alas, the drive took longer than the average commute time due to the immense volume of vehicles traveling to D.C. Passing by other buses and cars filled with people decked in blue and white, I felt a great sense of pride for my people, the first of many times that day. People waved at each other, a feeling of comradery formed only by the information that the others were going to the same place.

After a bus ride filled with Israeli music and trivia, we finally reached our destination…kind of. In reality, we had arrived at a parking lot of a Metro station, with a 30-minute Metro ride still awaiting us. Believe it or not, this was as close as we could get to the march, and this parking lot was packed. YU students in matching blue sweatshirts streamed out of big buses, and people wearing Israeli flags headed towards the Metro.

Being in the Metro station and on the train itself was perhaps the most chaotic experience of my life. There were long lines just to swipe our tickets, so much so that the attendants kept the gates open to try to ease the congestion. We ran to the train and squeezed inside - squeeze being entirely literal in this sense. There were so many people that the temperature instantly rose five or more degrees, and I had to hold onto a friend to keep from falling onto a bunch of people when the train started and stopped.

After a crowded ride, the train opened its doors at the L’enfant Plaza, and almost everyone on the train headed outside. Unnecessary were maps because a consistent flow of people showed the way to the rally. We followed, blue and white flags flailing behind us, posters in our hands, and a collective mission on our minds.

As we entered the National Mall, Ishay Ribo was singing some of his fan-favorite songs. These were songs that defined parts of my childhood, and everyone was singing along, just as I was. There were shouts of recognition as people saw long-lost cousins and bunkmates from the camp they went to years ago. The mood was somehow simultaneously subdued and uplifting as people collectively mourned the events of the past month or so and stood up for their Israeli pride.

While I felt incredibly supported by the countless politicians who pledged their unwavering solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people, I felt more swayed by the songs, chants, and signs. Hearing hundreds of thousands of unified voices singing songs, I have grown up with a part of my heart that nothing else could have done. Similarly, the chants in between speakers demanding to “bring them home" helped me see that other people outside of my immediate community care about the over 200 innocent people who have been wrongly taken. The signs that people spent hours carefully crafting inspired me with their to-the-point statements, sometimes making me laugh, like “spread cream cheese, not hate," and some urging me to scream out against injustice, such as “never again is now.” All of these unifying experiences forced me to agree full-heartedly with what one of the speakers alluded to: the idea that while the phrase “two Jews, three opinions” is normally accurate, on this day, it was 300,000 Jews and non-Jewish allies, with one unified opinion and experience.

The most meaningful part, though, was the families of hostages who bravely shared about the wonderful person they were missing to a sea of strangers. Despite the overwhelming amount of people, they poured open their hearts, allowing us to share in their pain, if only for a brief moment.

Perhaps too soon, it was time to head back to the buses, away from the moment that people are saying is going to be cemented in history. As I reflected on the day’s events (before falling asleep for a solid hour and a half on the bus), I realized that what they say is really true: we are a small but mighty nation, and we are not going down without a fight.



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