Readers Write: A united Great Neck marches on Washington

Readers Write: A united Great Neck marches on Washington

When I woke up this morning, it felt different. Today wasn’t just another Tuesday. It was to be a day of purpose, a day of joy, and a day of community.

I’ve always loved Israel. I visited as a teen, my wife and I honeymooned there, and our oldest daughter spent her summer there only a few short months ago.

So when Oct. 7 occurred, I felt like I needed to do something. When I learned about the rally in D.C., I knew I had to go. And now the day was here.

When I arrived to Temple Israel, the sun was just starting to rise. And when I walked onto the bus, the sense of joy was overwhelming.

It was a bus filled with kindred spirits. Despite the early hour, nobody seemed tired, everyone was filled with purpose. And even though I entered the bus by myself, I instantly felt a sense of community.

To my surprise, there were many familiar faces. Parents from my son’s soccer team, old friends, a member of the school board, an acquaintance from my gym. There were Israelis, Persians, and Egyptians, it was our Great Neck Jewish community together, as we always should be.

The bus ride down to Washington flew by. It was as if the positive energy on the bus made the hours go by like minutes. Friends on other buses from Great Neck were experiencing the same.

We laughed, we sang, we kibitzed, but we knew that there would be heavy moments ahead.

We arrived at the stadium and began the walk to the train. The joy of seeing such a large group of my people washed over me. Old, young, religious, secular, everyone was there.

Someone commented that the Jewish people have never been more united and I felt it too. Before I knew it we had arrived at the National Mall, right on time. I saw my people – we were one.

There were so many speakers, each one moved us with their words. From the bipartisan support to the inter-faith leaders to the gut-wrenching speeches from the families of the kidnapped, I have never been more proud to be a Jew.

When Natan Sharansky spoke he said, “We will win because we are one Jewish family.” He couldn’t be more right.

Mark Berger

Great Neck

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