This coming Tuesday, Nov. 14, there will be a massive rally in DC supporting Israel, opposing antisemitism, and calling for the immediate release of all hostages. The rally is sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America and co-sponsored by almost all mainstream Jewish groups on all points of both the religious and political spectrum. The rally will take place on The Mall between 7th and 12 streets starting at i pm and ending at 3. Gates will open at 10 am.
If you plan to attend -- and I hope you will -- it is recommended that you sign up in advance so that you can receive updated information on the schedule of speakers and security and logistics announcements. You can still attend without signing up but given that plans for the rally are incomplete and details can change, it seems to me a good idea to sign up. You can sign up through either the United Synagogue or the Jewish Federation and if you are on the email lists of other organizations, you may have received signup links from them as well. As far as I know, the information you receive will be the same regardless of how you sign up except if you want to meet up with a specific organization. Here are the links for the United Synagogue and the Federation:
Last night before minyan I attended a Zoom meeting for Conservative rabbis to update us on plans for the rally. The speakers will include Democratic and Republican Senators and House members (one from each party in each chamber of Congress); a representative of the Administration; families of the hostages; and survivors of the October 7 attack. There will be “A-list” entertainers as well. At this point, the names of those appearing have not yet been announced.
There will be very heavy security for the event and everyone attending will need to pass through a magnetometer (aka metal detector). Security is being handled by the Park Police. Gates to the event will open at 10 am and it is recommended that those attending take the Metro Blue Line to the Smithsonian station, which is very close to the main entrance for the rally at 12th St. You can bring small backpacks or purses and it is recommended to bring water and something to eat. Signs are permitted but cannot be attached to sticks.
There will be buses coming from all over the United States and Canada (there are 15 buses coming from Toronto) and the sole bus drop off point is the RFK Stadium parking lot. Under the circumstances, it’s not practical for us to arrange a bus or minibus for our own members and it is recommended you take the Red Line to Metro Center and then switch to the Blue Line.
The Jewish Federation is making handheld signs for the rally and they will be available at the synagogue some time Monday afternoon. The signs are being customized but it is not clear to me whether they will have the name of our synagogue or simply the Jewish Federation. When I have more information I will share it with you. Pulling this rally together in such a short amount of time and with so many other priorities for the Jewish community is a tremendous undertaking, and under the circumstances it’s understandable that details are 1.) still incomplete and 2.) subject to change. Regardless, it is really important that we have a massive turnout of Jews and other supporters for this rally and I hope you will attend if at all possible.
As a reminder, I am having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4 at the shul. You do not need to make an appointment -- that would negate the whole point of drop-in hours -- but I’d urge you to check and make sure I am there regardless as sometimes there are unavoidable pastoral or other emergencies which might take me away from the building.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian