An estimated 25,000 marchers — including many from Long Island — assembled in Manhattan’s Foley Square Sunday morning, flooding the Brooklyn Bridge for hours as they crossed into Brooklyn amid chants of “No Hate, No Fear.”
At Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza Park, they heard from community leaders and organizations who urged Jewish pride and unity in the face of escalating anti-Semitism.
“Today, we do not simply walk over a bridge, we begin building better bridges between all denominations of Jews, and between Jews and non-Jews,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York said. “Building bridges means putting aside our differences, religious and political, and calling out anti-Semitism and all forms of hate wherever we see it. The purpose of today’s march is to loudly and publicly proclaim that an attack on a visibly Orthodox Jew is an attack on every Jew, an attack on every New Yorker and an attack on every person of good will.”
Among those attending from Long Island were the four women pictured on page 1 of The Jewish Star — Michal Weinstein, Rita Goldberg and Rachel Gottfried of Woodmere, and Sandi Gershowitz of Oceanside. They positioned themselves at the very front of the rally stage in Cadman Plaza Park, where they held politically-explicit homemade signs proclaiming “Jewish Lives Matter,” “Bail Reform is a Fail,” “BDS = Anti-Semitism” and “Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism.”
Yaacob Azancot, a college student who lives in Brooklyn, rode the subway with his family to Sunday’s event and found himself getting harassed. “On the way to the rally, we were getting off the train and someone pushed me with a lot of force,” he said. “I think it’s the kipah — being Jewish, being Orthodox. My brother was right next to me; he had his tzitzit out.”
Rabbi Uriel Vigler, director of Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, said he was glad to see Jews from all walks of life together at the event, but added that there was more work to be done. “We have to be prouder Jews, and that has to establish itself in practical mitzvot,” he said.
Gregg Levine, who came with a contingent of 100 people from Cleveland, said, “We won’t tolerate this; we’ve got to stand together and fight this hatred.”
“If we don’t speak up, it’s going to keep happening,” said Sharon Fried, who came by bus from Washington, DC. “We have to speak up in numbers.”
It was also a learning moment, said Mindy Brittner, who came to the event with her husband, Jackson Nurmi, and their daughter, Willa. The family rode down to the event with a group from Manhattan’s Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street. “I’ve marched for everyone else in the past two years, and now it’s time to be there for my people,” said Brittner. “It’s all interrelated.”
In addition to coming to support the cause, Brittner said it was important to her to bring her daughter, all of 2 years old, with them, saying, “I want her to know it’s important to show up.”
Additional speakers and performers during the program included Eric Goldstein, Michael Miller, Devorah Halberstam, Jonathan Greenblatt, Gil Monrose, David Harris, Mehnaz Afridi, Janice Weinman, Janice Shorenstein, Frankie Miranda, Joe Potasnik, Bishop Anthony DiMarzio, Blake Flayton, Eric Ward, Chaskel Bennet, Rabbi Avraham Gopin, Shulem, MaNishtana, Lawrence Aker, Rev. Que English, Eli Cohen, Amy Bressman, Bari Weiss and Isaiah Rothstein, as well as a video message from Rabbi David Niederman of Williamsburg. —JNS