Yesterday I went to a rally in New York City in support of Israel. It was held across the street from the United Nations, and was reported on in papers today, including the Washington Post. I was joined in the broiling sun by an estimated ten thousand others who also came forward to support Israel. While there were many Jews in the crowd, there were also those who come from other communities to stand together with the Jewish community and the state of Israel. The speakers, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elie Weisel, made it clear that the United States stands together with Israel in the war against terrorism. As I meandered through the crowd, I had two thoughts related to JOI.
The first was that many of JOI’s supporters work with us because they are concerned about the future of Israel. They believe that reaching interfaith families is crucial to maintaining a sizeable, influential Jewish community in North America that will continue to exercise political support for the state of Israel. The second was that I was mindful of JOI critics who contend that support for the state of Israel—an important measurement of Jewish identity from their perspective—is low in priority for interfaith couples. I don’t know how many non-Jews or intermarried folks were in the crowd, but I did realize that this rally and the others planned across the country provide interfaith families with an opportunity to prove that they are wrong. So see what you can do to challenge the critics and stand with Israel.