Jewish Tidewater attends March for Israel filled with pride

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Featured

Nofar Trem
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater chartered two buses to drive community members to Washington, DC to show solidarity and support for Israel on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The group from Tidewater joined nearly 300,000 Jewish allies of Israel on the National Mall for the March for Israel.

“Joining with over 100 members of our Tidewater Jewish community and colleagues, friends, and allies from around North America, was extremely powerful, emotional, and meaningful,” says Betty Ann Levin, UJFT executive vice president and CEO. “It also allowed us to channel our emotions of the last month and a half and truly take action. It’s hard to remember a more important time, in my lifetime, for our Jewish community and American Jewry.”

For Shalom Markman, the rally’s “overwhelming sense of peace and pride felt in the sea of blue and white” provided a sense of unity and “allowed Jewish people from all over the world to feel they were not alone,” he says. “During those few hours, the Jewish community made clear that it stood united.”

“It was an amazing and moving experience going to the march,” says David Leon, UJFT president. “We bonded on the bus to and from DC with everyone from Tidewater. There was such a positive vibe on the Mall and it felt like we were all one big family: many of us ran into people we knew and struck up conversations with strangers. It was important to show our support for Israel to the U.S. and the world in such a powerful way and I’m glad that I was part of this historic event,”

“Despite the chaos always circling Israel, for the year I lived there and every visit since, I was always overcome by a sense of peace. Being at the Israel rally in DC felt the same,” says Megan Zuckerman, Jewish Community Relations Council Israel education and advocacy committee chair.

“I was there, fully aware of the counter-protests happening in every corner of the earth and the hateful online rhetoric. However, in those moments standing on the DC lawn with my friends and fellow community members, I felt l was a member of a tribe of hundreds of thousands that were pouring our energy and love into each other, into Israel, and especially towards the family members of the hostages who spoke so poignantly with heartbreaking urgency to bring their loved ones home,” says Zuckerman.

The morning of the March for Israel, a 6 am Rosh Chodesh service took place right outside the White House, which was attended by Aaron Tessler. “As the sun rose over the most powerful building in the land, hundreds of Jews from all over the country gathered to sing, pray, and dance together for peace. We read the Torah, blew the Shofar, and prayed for good things for our people and the world,” he says.

The rally was also a wakeup call for fighting the rise in antisemitism and hatred, and fighting against critics of Israel who don’t believe in its right to exist, says Rabbi Ron Koas of Congregation Beth El. “It was interesting and encouraging to see the top leadership of both U.S. parties speaking at the event in front of the Capitol, including Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and the new Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana, agreeing with each other and saying that Israel should not agree to a cease-fire until all hostages are back home in Israel.”

Israel needs to be able to defend itself, says Rabbi Koas, and “I think that it helps for everybody around the world to see the support that Israel had on November 14. We ended by singing HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem, The Hope.

“We must continue to be proud of being Jewish, advocate for Israel, and fight for the release of each and every hostage. It was important to be at the mall in Washington on November 14, and to be a part of this event. I felt proud being Jewish and proud of my people! Am Israel Chai!”

“I am proud to be Jewish every waking moment of my life, and that day, at that rally, I did not take that part of my soul that loves my culture, my homeland of Israel, and my fellow Jewish family for granted,” says Zuckerman.

To learn more about Israel, the ongoing conflict, and how to get involved, visit JewishVA.og/IsraelatWar23 or contact Nofar Trem, Israel Engagement manager, at