Jewish leaders from Bay Area will march on National Mall in D.C.

Jewish leaders from the Bay Area are headed to Washington D.C. for a march in support of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather Tuesday at the National Mall.  

Organizers say they want to emphasize that hostages are still being held over a month later since the Hamas attacks, and this march is their opportunity to stand in solidarity with Israel.  

"We’re very concerned about the rise of antisemitism throughout the country, throughout the world, and specifically in the Bay Area," said Rabbi Mark Bloom, of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland.    

Jewish leaders in the Bay Area are traveling across the country to participate in a demonstration with other supporters of Israel. They say reports of vandalism and violence against the Jewish community are rising across the country, including in the Bay Area.  

"It’s been in ways that I’ve never experienced as a Rabbi, more than September 11th, more than Pittsburgh, more than COVID. The kind of concern and panic we’re seeing," said Rabbi Bloom.   

Tuesday’s march in D.C. is being organized by the Jewish Federations of North America, and they say they are expecting 250,000 people to descend on the National Mall in Washington D.C.   

"They’ve been concerned about the 400% increase nationwide that we’re reading about statistically but that we’re also feeling in the streets, in the schools, in our workplaces," Bloom said.  

The surprise attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7 killed 1,400 Israelis and about 240 people were taken hostage. Since then, more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as Israeli forces battle with Hamas.  

"We want to support America’s greatest ally in the Middle East in its time of need, that was a victim of an unprovoked attack that broke a cease-fire," said Seth Brysk, Chief Officer of External Affairs and Partnerships for the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco.  

Brysk says the Jewish Federations would also like to see the Biden Administration execute its plan to combat antisemitism on a national level.   

"We’d like to see them lean into that process, some of the ideas that were generated from that strategy to address antisemitism and to continue to use his bully pulpit to speak out," Brysk said. 

Both Bloom and Brysk say they'd like to see an end to the fighting in Gaza and, most importantly, see the hostages come home.