Who 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.
I, 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. That’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…)