The Power of Standing Up: What it was like to March Against Anti-Semitism

The march was titled “No Hate. No Fear.” and as I walked shoulder to shoulder with throngs of other New Yorkers on Sunday I felt neither hate nor fear, only a sense of shared commitment to a better world.  Seventy members of the Schechter Manhattan community- faculty, parents, and students- gathered to join the march together. I hope that the message of solidarity from the large numbers who joined the march was heard widely.  It surely had a positive impact on those of us who were there. As we walked, I asked some of our group their thoughts and feelings about being there. Here is some of what they said; I think it captures the power and meaning of the experience.


“It’s very exciting to be here, to see so many people. It’s just a huge, huge crowd, and I came because I think it’s important for us to stand up and let everybody know that it’s not okay to just think we’re going to sit by as anti-Semitic incidents, and other hate incidents, but antisemitic incidents, in particular, are increasing and particularly in our community.” Schechter Manhattan parent


“It’s really exciting to be here with this giant turnout and to feel a part of a large community, and frankly, it’s a feeling of safety to be with all these people who all feel the same way and are coming out and saying that this is not okay.” Schechter Manhattan parent


“I came here for my kids. I came here because being Jewish matters, and because we should not be afraid to exercise our religion. And it feels amazing. It’s a warm day. It’s a gorgeous day, and so much support outpouring. It’s wonderful.” Schechter Manhattan parent


“It’s giving me a really good feeling, standing up for my people, I guess, for Judaism.” Schechter Manhattan student, grade 7


“This is one of those moments where you have to stand up and say enough, both as a member of the Jewish community and as a member of New York City.  Anti-Semitism, and hate in general, can’t take any steps past today. And if the people of the city don’t come out and say something, then who will? Looking around, you’re surrounded by, I’m sure, thousands of people. It’s a strong showing and a feeling of connectedness and being part of a bigger thing.”  Schechter Manhattan faculty member


“This morning I thought that there would be very little people here, but now that I see there’s so many people. I realize, why should there be so little people if so many people respect this?”  Schechter Manhattan student, grade 3


“I came today because I feel like in times like this, I often feel really powerless and like I don’t know what to do. And coming today with a lot of other people felt like this is something tangible that I can do to really show up, and it feels overwhelming, but overall, really positive to be here.” Schechter Manhattan faculty member


“We shouldn’t be scared to be Jewish because there are a lot of people here today.” Schechter Manhattan student, grade 3


“It’s just really nice to be part of a community and show up with the community, the smaller community that we’re a part of, and be here with so many other communities also.” Schechter Manhattan faculty member


“It feels amazing to be in this warm embrace of many people of different political persuasions, different religious backgrounds, and hoping you also have a lot of non-Jews that come to show solidarity, because of course this is a general problem for society at large. I don’t see this as a Jewish topic. This is really about being human beings and respecting each other. So it feels wonderful to have this outpouring of support today. And it’s great to do it together with my kids, for them to see this and see that there is … You know, however bleak we see the world around us, there’s always hope and there’s always solidarity and you can count upon the basic humanity of man. So, it’s a wonderful feeling.”  Schechter Manhattan parent

“To know that you’re surrounded by community, and people who love you, and people who want to be with you, it’s so beautiful.” Schechter Manhattan student, grade 7