Coming Together for Israel

More than 1,000 Join Yeshiva University Students in Song and Prayer at Times Square Kumzitz

On November 1, Yeshiva University students hosted a moving kumzitz [concert] in support of Israel on the Red Steps in Times Square. Led by student Aryeh Tiefenbrunn on his guitar and the Y-Studs, YU’s student a cappella group, on backup vocals, they were joined by more than a thousand fellow Jews, students, friends and passersby, flooding the heart of Manhattan with songs of peace and love for the land of Israel.

“At such a critical time for Israel, it is imperative to show the world that we support our brethren there and show them that although we are not physically there, we are thinking of them, praying for them, and hoping that this wave of terror ends very soon,” said Shlomo Anapolle, president of the YU Israel Club. “We hope that students gained a sense of belonging and connection to Israel, our indigenous homeland, by uniting through song and prayer.”

“We are here to sing songs of peace and life, the songs of our people, and celebrate life,” Daniel Lazarev, one of the event’s organizers, told the crowd. Tamar Golubtchik,  co-president of the Israel Club, added: “Look at all the types of people who are here. This is why we’re here, this is achenu kol beit yisrael [we are all the brothers of the house of Israel]we’re all here to show that we stand with Israel.”

The diverse crowd consisted of students, parents and their children, Jews of all denominations, and non-Jews as well, all singing and dancing to celebrate Israel. Some found themselves drawn to the music and dancing as they passed through Times Squares. Many stopped to take pictures and record the moment for friends.

For Ovadia Sasson, a student who recently moved from Israel to America and serves as president of Israelis for Israel, a national pro-Israel activist group, the kumzitz was inspirational. He had been so excited for the event that he came early to distribute Israeli flags to the crowd. “This is amazing—all over the world, Israel is united,” said Sasson. “Look at us tonight: You see only love and unity and that’s why we’re always going to stay strong together.”

“Yeshiva University’s greatest asset is our student body, and when they mobilize in so many different ways to support Israel we all realize that we are working with the next generation of our people’s leaders,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, vice president for university and community life at YU.

Ilan Swartz-Brownstein, a senior majoring in marketing at Sy Syms School of Business, contributed to this post. Photos by Shimon Lindenblatt.