“I don’t do parades.”
“There’ll be enough people without me.”
“I love Israel, but don’t like the current government.”
“Doesn’t it always rain?”

If any of these are reasons you haven’t recently attended the Celebrate Israel Parade, this is the moment to put all that aside and join us. On Sunday, June 2, we’re asking every Jewish New Yorker, together with our friends and neighbors, to be a marcher or spectator. To show up.

Why this year?

Because of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh. The shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway. The anti-Semitism that now frequently masquerades as anti-Zionism. The anti-Semitic tropes being touted by the far right and far left, and sometimes even the mainstream media. The swastikas now regularly appearing on Jewish buildings in our neighborhoods. The news out of Germany last week that an official tasked with fighting anti-Semitism advised Jews to avoid wearing kippot in certain areas, fearing for their safety.

Watching all this unfold, we can react in two ways. We can lie low, retreat, believing we’re safer if we aren’t seen or heard. OR, we can come out in force — every one of us — proudly Jewish, enthusiastically pro-Israel, showing the world who we are and what we stand for.

I vote for showing up.

Every year, with support from UJA, our partner the Jewish Community Relations Council organizes the parade, the largest pro-Israel gathering in the world. Rain or shine, tens of thousands of participants from schools, synagogues, Hillels, and other groups march along Fifth Avenue, representing the Jewish community in all its diversity.

That same diversity also means that while we share a love for Israel, we may have vastly differing opinions about a particular political leader or governmental action (as is also true in the United States). That’s why the parade has always risen above politics, never endorsing any politician or policy. It’s always been about proudly supporting Israel’s right to exist as our national Jewish homeland.

And, today, with anti-Semitism growing all around us, lining Fifth Avenue to embrace what Israel represents takes on new and even more profound meaning.

So, pack an umbrella. And just show up.

Shabbat shalom,
Eric

P.S. You can register here to join UJA’s contingent; we’d love to have you. We’ll be gathering at 53rd Street between 5th and 6th avenues, from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm.