free the hot soldiersWho knew? New York City has a lot of Jews. And when they’re joined by hundreds from cities across the United States, and buses bring yeshiva kids in to the Big City to engage in “demonstrations,” there’s gonna be a lot of Jewish geography and high-pitched squawking from teens.

“OHmigawd!!! Chanah Leah Rochel Devorah!!! Did you see Faygie? There are totally a lot of people here…”

I remember what it’s like to be a yeshiva student “demonstrating on behalf of Israel”–unless you’re in sight of the stage, it’s all about the socializing. Most of them didn’t even chime in for “Free them now” or any of the other chanting and singing…they were calling each other on their cell phones and trying to find their friends in the impossible crowd.

shmata and beard guysI, of course, am a master of the crowd. So I managed to find one of my oldest friends in the crowd–she was looking for her mother, who I found about ten minutes later. In taking random pictures, I captured this Guy with Beard talking to Dude with Shmata on Head. I’m pretty sure Guy with Beard is one of the teachers we had in high school. And I also spied rabbinical student Drew Kaplan for the first time ever in real life (although we’ve been blogfriends for about a year).

The problem with a rally this large is that the impact is mostly visual. Wow, you think. signs everywhere signsThat’s a lot of people who are for Israel and against Ahmadinejad. And it’s a powerful display when yarmulkes are fourscore and seven deep in any given direction; when Israeli flags are worn as capes across Jewish shoulders; and when crowds blow shofars on cue to indicate solidarity, an evocation of the tribal cry to assemble. But I couldn’t hear much, I certainly couldn’t see the speakers, who were an avenue away, and the din of the crowd was too much competition for me to concentrate.

I hope the rally does some good. I hope that the soldiers are freed soon. And I hope that Israel and American Jews will continue to speak out on behalf of the oppressed and the afflicted.

May this new year be one of peace, health and happiness for us all. (More photos available online at my Flickr page…)

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Esther Kustanowitz

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  • It was really great. I went with my high school. We couldn’t even get anywhere. They kept telling us to move down and go around. But still I’m so glad that so many Jews showed up. Those Hasidim who are against Israel called Sartas or something like that were there. One guy punch one of them. And this woman kept pushing and yelling at them. They deserve it. They were handing out fliers that said, “we Welcome ahmidenejad” They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Satmar maybe?

    It was interesting, the rally. My only additional comment: who knew Jews could be like Puerto Ricans? What’s next? Israeli flags on the hoods of cars? The cape and the hear gear were a bit much. People should be more respectful of national symbols.

  • Better on the head with pride – than on the ground in flames 😉

  • Another sad saga of a self hating Jew is here.
    Strangely enough, he’s a sitting Repug. Senator, George Allen from VA. I thought someone might be interested in this tale. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • I have seen no mention of this wonderful event in the NY TIMES or even in HAMODIA. The NY SUN had a big, sympathetic piece about it,however. The NY TIMES has not mentioned the Security Council at all.

    The NY SUN is a good newspaper!

    You need the NY TIMES too, but you have to read it with your head cocked sceptically to the side, and with your eyes narrowed suspiciously, which can be tough at breakfast before the coffee has kicked in.

  • Fascinating Esther

    For the first time in two months, we were at a Jewish event together – and we didn’t see each other. FYI, Drew is a friend of mine as well, but not from the bloggie world.

  • Was this reported on anywhere? I didn’t hear about it until just now – and I realize I’m out of the NY loop being in TX and all, but I watch the news and read online and you’d think 35,000 Jews outside the UN would be mentioned somewhere.

  • I went with 4 friends. We came from Detroit. We are Christians who support Israel. We were near the front and found the crowd to be friendly and appreciative/thankful for our support. I was disappointed but not surprised that we were unable to see this in any media source. It is disturbing to me that any leader should be “allowed” to spew out hate speech and somehow be immune to criticism.