(Pictured) The Solidarity Rally in Boston Courtesy of Joel Rich.

This past Thursday night, the seven new members of the Wexner Israel Fellowship, Class 26, attended a 1,000 person-strong rally in a Boston area synagogue, where the community and various dignitaries expressed support and solidarity for Israel. Here are some of the fellow’s reactions to that evening:

“For me, as a senior officer in the IDF, this kind of warm, large and supportive assembly was a much needed ״shot״ of encouragement and a binding event. These days, away from home and from my family, are very difficult for me – especially knowing that my friends are all involved in the tremendous military effort. So I was feeling a bit detached and alone. The overwhelming and unconditional love and support was not only a new and heartwarming experience but also a much needed “home away from home” for me. Thank you all for that. Thank you for standing and speaking in a strong and clear voice, for being proud and believing.”
Lt. Col. David Shternberg has served as an officer in an elite IDF unit since 1999 and has an MBA and a MA degree in legal studies.  He can be reached at david_shternberg@hks15.harvard.edu

“The form of activism at the rally proved a very new and different experience. The strong and uncompromising sense of togetherness and involvement, as expressed by all speakers and the people present was heartwarming and at times overwhelming. Trailing thoughts are touching on the relationships between our communities. “ 

Aaron Fortus has held various management and operative positions in the Prime Minister’s Office over the last 16 years, combining technology with diverse disciplines in complex projects in country and abroad.  He can be reached at aaron_fortus@hks15.harvard.edu.

“It has been twelve years since I attended a community rally in solidarity with Israel  —  and on Thursday night I attended my first rally as an Israeli. There was a moment when I turned around and saw over 1000 of us Standing Tall. United. Strong.  Determined. And though it was moving, reassuring and empowering, I couldn’t help but feel equally overwhelmed with sadness, and maybe even resentment – –  at the prevailing cynical approach today. I long for those days when the sky was the limit and we worked together to get there. And succeeded. 
Since that evening I have made it a point to talk to as many people as I possibly could – I wonder if those ‘deep schisms’ between Israel and world Jewry are somewhat misleading. In the meantime, I have encountered a community with which the ‘common ground’ far surpasses ‘insurmountable distance’ —  even with those who hold different (sometimes opposing) political views.
Ruthie Saragosti moved to Israel in 2002 from Montreal and has a passion for informal Jewish education and youth which she puts to work in her service as the VP of International Development and Strategic Planning for Yedidim in Israel.  She can be reached at ruth_saragosti_paz@harvard15.edu.