1,000 Strong Sells Out as New York Millennials Show Solidarity with Israel
By: Lieba Nesis
On Thursday October 19th 2023 at 7:30 PM over 1,000 Jewish twenty-to-thirty- somethings joined forces at the 230 Fifth Avenue rooftop to tell the world “enough is enough.” The Jewish community has never felt so alone with scant celebrities and public figures speaking out on their behalf and an entire region of Middle Eastern countries ready to attack. The psychological warfare inflicted by the brutalization of Israelis through torture, beheadings, rape and mass executions simmers. Jewish organizations have been grappling with how to appropriately react? The Friends of Israel Defense Forces changed their gala dinner to a solidarity vigil allowing them to raise money for the soldiers while still being respectful to the memory of lost lives.
Yifat Schnur and Alex Weiss
Other institutions have canceled events including the Iranian American Jewish Federation which said it was postponing its November 14th gala along with The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and MTV European Music Awards forgoing their annual shindigs entirely due to the global volatility and tragic violence. My thinking is Jewish groups should react the way Hamas would loathe-memorializing the victims, raising money for the army, and denouncing the atrocities in the strongest terms possible.
The advent of “1,000 Strong” began two weeks ago when 27-year-old TikTok star Mordechai Weiss was sitting in a bomb shelter in Jerusalem and told his friends Mickael Benichou and Jillian Weisleder, “when I get home we have to do something big.” And so within four days they planned “1,000 strong” to support the IDF and Victims of Terror with over $150,000 raised-not bad for a bunch of twenty year olds. Every penny goes to four organizations: Kibbutz Karmiya which was devastated by the attacks; Reservist Soldiers who need supplies, food and equipment; Kol Hanearim which helps orphaned children; and Bulletproof Israel which produces bulletproof vests which are currently scarce.
NY Mayor Eric Adams
Tickets sold-out hours before the event and lines were snaked around the block by 7 PM; the crowd was obviously seeking a cathartic release from the horrors of the past week. Planning an evening like this is no easy feat especially when superstar Gad Elbaz flies in from Israel gratis in order to show solidarity with anguished New Yorkers. The ebullient crowd was hard to quiet after a long month of Jewish Holidays and an endless two weeks of dreary news. Elbaz joked that some marriages might be consummated in the over enthusiastic group as he wowed with a beautiful rendition of Hatikva along with a five-song-set that began with “Vehi Sheamda”.
Mendy Katz, the President of Monarch Estate Services, LLC, Adam Weiss, President of ANWPR public relations firm & Sarah Berns
Organizer Mordechai Weiss, whose mother and father Miriam and Robert Weiss helped sponsor the evening, spoke about Hamas’s horrific plans which included massacring schools and shuls in order to inflict maximum carnage on our holiday of Simchat Torah. The Passover prayer overtly states that in “every generation the enemy rises up to kill the Jewish people but God saves us” with Weiss remarking the Jews possessed the blood of the Maccabees within. As Chickies sandwiches, kosher sushi and Lattes were devoured guests heard via video from reservist Rudy Rochman who is currently in Gaza as he implored the crowd to donate funds as the 360,000 reservists were lacking boots and proper equipment. Israeli diplomat Itay Milner noted this was the best looking Jewish crowd he had seen as he prayed for the wellbeing of Israel.
– Adam and Jillian Chera, Danielle Yablonka, Mordy Weiss, Mickael Benichou, Alex Weiss and Anna Low
After a moment of silence the crowd had the opportunity to fraternize as they awaited the finale-a speech by orator Eric Adams. The Mayor noted how more than 50 percent of those marching with Martin Luther King in the 1960’s were Jewish illustrating the close bond between the two groups. He extolled the Israeli community for sharing the harrowing images of death inflicted by Hamas which revealed the true nature of what the group represents. While Adams expressed his enthusiasm at seeing the energized crowd he said it was necessary to turn pain into purpose and mobilize the energy of the group to rid the planet of its darkness which utilizes social media algorithms to lure people into anti-Semitism and evil.
Alex and Brad Fishel
Adams said, “to get back on college campuses and reclaim academia” as he concluded with “they tried to destroy the Jews before but you’re still here… never again is the life we live”-as the audience responded with rapturous applause and hoots of enthusiasm. I noticed Adams wearing his lucky red blazer that he trots out for all the most momentous occasions- this undoubtedly being one of them.
Jay Jacobs & Thierry WizmanJack Turrell & Lucy Scott
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