Last week’s Washington rally for women’s reproductive choice wasn’t merely one of the largest demonstrations in American history. It was one of the largest gatherings of American Jews in recent years. Based on numbers provided by participating Jewish organizations, impressions from participants and inquiries with organizers around the country, it seems clear that Jewish march-goers numbered in the high tens of thousands, and perhaps more.
It’s clear, too, based on reports from participants during and after the march, that Jewish marchers came to Washington with a strong sense that their mission that day was driven in considerable part by their sense of themselves as Jews and of their values as Jewish values.
There’s food for thought here for the policy-makers and leaders who run the various institutions that presume to speak for us — Jewish communal bodies and liberal activist groups alike. Liberal ideals, we are reminded once again, are an essential part of the American Jewish value system. No less important, the march reminds us that Jews are an essential part of American liberalism.