Thursday, November 30th | 18 Kislev 5784

November 7, 2023 11:26 am

‘We Have Each Other, We Have Israel’: More Than 10,000 Gather for Pro-Israel Rally in New York City


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Some of the more than 10,000 people who gathered at the vigil and rally organized by UJA – Federation of New York on Nov. 6, 2023. Photo: Michael Priest

Over 10,000 people gathered near Central Park in New York City on Monday night for a vigil and rally to commemorate 30 days since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in Israel and to demand the release of the more than 200 captives kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who are still being held as hostages in the Gaza Strip.

The massive event, organized by the UJA-Federation of New York, included performances by Israeli singers Gad Elbaz and Idan Raichel. Speakers included actors Brett Gelman and Debra Messing, comedian Elon Gold, and two relatives of the 240 hostages taken by terrorists from Israel to Gaza.

Many attendees waved Israeli flags while others held posters featuring photos and descriptions of those kidnapped by Hamas. Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, led protesters in chanting “Bring them home,” referring to the hostages.

“In the Jewish tradition, the 30th day is a religiously important day,” said Goldstein. “It’s the sheloshim that marks the continuing sense of mourning, but a time that people come together to be with each other, to feel a sense of solidarity.” He told the crowd on Monday night that Oct. 7 was “a day that rocked all of us to our core but united us as never before. We must not stop until every last hostage is free.”

Messing read to the audience a letter that she would have written to her late Jewish mother to describe the events that have unfolded since Oct. 7.

“We are heartbroken,” she said. “We are being blamed and shamed, denounced, reframed as the cause of our own victimization … we are scapegoated and misunderstood. We are the objects of lies and propaganda, and mom, sometimes it feels like the whole world hates us.”

“[But] we have each other, we have Israel, we are not alone,” she added. “For 30 centuries we have not just survived, we have thrived. We are strong and resilience, beautiful and innovative, devoted, righteous and loving, and because of this hatred we face now, we will love each other harder. We will embrace our deep faith in humanity more fiercely. We will take comfort and courage in our global Jewish family and our allies. We are prouder now and utterly defiant in the face of hate. Israel since its birth has been the hope and its blazing light will never dim … Am Israel Chai” (“Long Live Israel”).

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