HUC-JIR faculty, students, and administration gathered on Sunday, January 5, 2020, at Manhattan’s downtown Foley Square to march across the Brooklyn Bridge and rally at Brooklyn’s Cadman Bridge in a multi-faith demonstration of unity against recent antisemitic violence in the greater New York area. Organized by a coalition of organizations, including UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Community Relations Council, ADL, AJC, and the New York Board of Rabbis, the march drew over 25,000 people who stood proudly together to condemn acts of hate and advocate for justice. Here are some of their reflections on their experiences.
"Just as all American Jews are grappling with what the rise in anti-Semitism means to us, our future clergy and leaders are trying to make sense of what it means for themselves, in particular," stated Rabbi David Adelson, D.Min., Dean of HUC-JIR’s New York campus. "One thing we all learned, hopefully, is that we are strong in our diversity and can show up for one another when we need to."
Rabbinical student Jill Rubin ’22, echoed these thoughts in saying, "What impressed me most about the march was its magnitude. Everywhere we looked we saw Jews from diverse communities, from New York City and all over the United States! It was a remarkable and rare experience to see the larger Jewish community coming together to show strength and resilience. I was incredibly moved to see such a big turnout from the Reform Movement, and it solidified my belief that we show up for everyone in our community."
Rabbi Lisa Grant, Ph.D., Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at the New York campus, added, "I was inspired by the sheer numbers and broad range of Jews who came out across the political and religious spectrum from JDL to JVP from Jewish Socialists to Chabad. My hope is that the march both affirmed our commitment to each other as a People and also conveyed the message that antisemistism is another form of racism that we cannot tolerate in our city, our country and our world."
Rabbi Kim Geringer, Adjunct Instructor in Professional Development, Rabbinic Supervision, reflected, "I was most touched by the elderly people who showed up, trudging in the cold across the Brooklyn Bridge. I wondered how many of them were remembering another time and thinking, 'Not again. Not on our watch.' Marching was also my response to the Charlottesville chant, ‘Jews will not replace us!’ My response was, ‘We’re not going anywhere. We will not hide. We will not be intimidated. We will be seen.’ This march to me was for life.”
Instructor Betsy Stone, Ph.D., summed up the experience, noting, “There was a sense of community with people I knew and people I didn't know. There were no strangers on the march.”