Antisemitism Rally: Shining a Light on Antisemitism


On the second night of Chanukah, Jews from all corners of New York came together in Times Square to rally against antisemitism. In recent months, antisemitism has become the topic of lengthy discussions, specifically in the wake of Kanye and Kyrie Irving’s antisemitic tweets and statements. With the timely arrival of Chanukah, the UJA-Federation partnered up with Shine A Light. Shine A Light is a national initiative that partners with different organizations and companies to raise awareness about antisemitism. Over Chanukah, they held rallies each night in various cities throughout the country.
The administration strongly encouraged students to participate in the Time Square rally. School ended one period early to facilitate attendance and have pizza before riding the subway. Additionally, bright yellow Ramaz beanies were given out to students attending the rally, making the Ramaz community easily identifiable in the crowd.

The rally featured a line-up of Jewish performers. The event started with Jewish comedian Ariel Elias, known for a video of getting a beer thrown at her and then drinking it during a comedy set, who spoke about her antisemitic experience on stage. The cast of Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof performed songs from the show, followed by Jewish rapper Nissim Black, who performed some of his hit songs. The rally also featured political guest speakers, such as governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James. Governor Hochul stressed the importance of all schools providing comprehensive education on the Holocaust.
Jewish students from City College who were victims of antisemitism lit the electric menorah. The prayers were recited by David Herskowitz, a former member of the Miami Boys Choir. TikTok star Montana Tucker, known for her video series about her family’s experience in the Holocaust, spoke about the importance of making the series. The rally was finished off by the Ramaz Choir, performing a Chanukah medley, and the Chamber Choir performing an additional song.

While the turnout of Ramaz students at the rally was moderately large, the attendance of students seemed to be less than the school had anticipated. Just an hour before the rally, thirty boxes of Saba’s pizza arrived in the auditorium for students attending the rally to have as dinner. However, it appeared there were only sufficient attendees to finish a small percentage of the pizza.
As antisemitism spikes around the country, Ramaz administrators have made a concerted effort this year to plan assemblies addressing antisemitism, and how students can fight back. The rally was just one of a number of new initiatives Ramaz has taken on this front. For instance, there was a school-wide assembly with guest speaker Mike Dube. He spoke about antisemitism and his experience going to the Nets game in a “Fight Antisemitism” shirt, which made national news. The Israel Advisory Program also ran an assembly addressing how to separate an artist from their art. At this meeting, they discussed Kanye’s tweets and their implications.

This isn’t the first time Ramaz has tried to combat antisemitism. At assemblies leading up to the rally, many teachers, administrators, and Rabbi Steinmetz recalled Ramaz’s role in attending rallies regarding Jewish refugees in the former Soviet Union. Attending this month’s protest is just the latest in a long history of Ramaz activism against antisemitism and Jewish oppression.