“Our hearts are broken, but our spirits are not,” said Roz Rothstein, of StandWithUs. “Do not underestimate the Jewish people. Do not underestimate the state of Israel.”
Jewish News Syndicate
Oct 12, 2023
As hundreds gathered in Los Angeles for a rally in solidarity with the Jewish state, many who drove by opted to honk if they love Israel.
“Thank God, you’re here to stand tall for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel,” Roz Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of StandWithUs told the crowd in between a symphony of supportive car horns and attendees chanting “Am Yisrael Chai,” the “Nation of Israel lives.”
The two-hour afternoon event, which StandWithUs sponsored with more than a dozen-and-a-half organizations, took place outside the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles on Oct. 10.
“Hamas is sadistic and barberic. They don’t want peace,” Rothstein told the cheering crowd. “The Jewish people stand behind Israel.” She added that “our hearts are broken, but our spirits are not. Do not underestimate the Jewish people. Do not underestimate the State of Israel.”
“I am grateful that we have people from every denomination, all ages, all faiths, all standing together against terrorism and with the state of Israel,” she told JNS after the event.
Rabbis, Jewish leaders, community leaders and others addressed the rally. (It being Los Angeles, Ben Savage of “Boy Meets World” was present, though the Jewish actor had no speaking role at the rally.)
The Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts, which owns and operates the historic Saban Theatre, was one of the event’s sponsors. David Baron, rabbi of the non-denominational synagogue, began his remarks with a moment to remember those killed by Hamas terrorists.
“Today is about all of us, but it is also about the entire American Jewish community,” Baron said.
“The Jewish people are united behind Israel,” Baron told JNS, “We have to engage our neighbors and our friends who are not Jewish. We need the support.”
Alissa Bernstein, assistant director of the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles—another sponsor of the event—told JNS: “Coming together has truly been a powerful sign of unity, of resilience, of strength and of desire for peace.”
‘This is so important’
Though the rally was born of great pain and loss, participants took comfort and joy in the unity and sense of community.
Ben Krombach, 28, of the mostly Jewish Los Angeles neighborhood Pico-Robertson, told JNS that it was the first time he had smiled in three days.
Participants who appeared to span Jewish religious denominations gathered in a circle to sing “Acheinu,” a song about Jewish camaraderie in dire circumstances, as some climbed traffic poles and other structures to wave Israeli flags.
Some wore Israeli flags as capes as speakers blared renditions of the song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”). Chabad rabbis had tefillin on hand for those who wanted to wrap.
Some 100 attendees appeared to be high-school age or younger—often the loudest singers of the group.
Ralph Resnick, the rabbi of Temple Ami Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in West Covina, Calif., told JNS that he was supposed to fly to Israel on Oct. 8—the day after the Hamas attacks—to visit his brother, who has lived in Jerusalem for 40 years.
Instead, Resnick was rallying in Los Angeles in support of the Jewish state—taking in the sight with tears in his eyes.
“It’s fantastic,” he told JNS, “It’s so moving and so important. This is so important.”
Even as Rothstein drew the rally to a close, some attendees continued dancing in circles, embraced friends and other participants, and even after getting into their cars waved Israeli flags through their sunroofs.
Bernstein, of the AJC, told JNS that this is indicative of who Jews are as a people.
“The Jewish story isn’t one of loss, nor is it one of death or suffering,” she said. “It’s of resilience, it’s of power, and it’s of hope.”
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