YU Councils Organize Times Square Israel Rally
As recent weeks once again find Israel facing a rising tide of terror, with nearly every day bringing new reports of attacks and outrages, Yeshiva University students gathered in Times Square on Sunday, November 23rd, for a night of solidarity in support of the people of Israel.
The event, organized and led by Yeshiva University students, was nondenominational, open to the public and people of all faiths and backgrounds. As they gathered in the Midtown plaza that styles itself as "The Crossroads of the World," students and others waved large Israeli flags and expressed their mourning for the victims and support the victims' families and for the State of Israel in prayer and song.
Attendees also heard speeches from YCSA President Shai Berman, TAC President Amanda Esraeilian, and Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President for University and Community Life at YU, who all spoke movingly about the tragedies of the recent weeks, and about the imperative for Israel - and other peace-loving nations around the world - to effectively neutralize perpetrators of terror. SOY president Jacob Bernstein led the assembled crowd in a prayer for American and Israeli soldiers. Soon after, the hopeful notes of Am Yisrael Chai echoed through Times Square.
Students held up signs with hand-crafted messages about the ongoing conflict, whose tones ranged from the simple - "One nation, one heart" or "University students stand with Israel" - to the more pointed: "With the PA inciting violence, are these terrorists really lone wolves?"
Reactions from passersby and tourists were overwhelmingly positive. "There was a lot of support. A lot of people - both Jewish and non-Jewish - stopped and joined us during the prayers and songs," said Bernstein, who hopes that the event's success will be a catalyst for more such events in the future. "I was proud to be able to publicly stand in support of Israel." The rally was also covered by local news broadcaster NY1 and Israeli news outlets.
"The rally impressed on the people around us that enough is enough—that there should be no more bereaved parents, no more widowed spouses, no more orphaned children," said Berman. "We stressed that terror is a problem that plagues the entire free world and that we all need to support Israel in her efforts to protect her citizens and end this senseless violence. At the same time, we also attempted to communicate our hope for a brighter future for the State of Israel."