Reform Jews say, ‘Enough’

On Sat., March 24, four SHS students proudly marched in Washington DC for the March for Our Lives. The previous morning, juniors Grace Lefton and Abigail Lefton along with seniors Max Snyder and Leah Schwartz drove to Dayton to catch a bus coming from Indiana headed to the nation’s capital.

The students participated in the march with an organization called North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), which is a movement for reform Jewish teens.

After almost 12 hours of travel, the group entered the Washington Hebrew congregation where Shabbat services were taking place. The service included notes from multiple survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who are members of NFTY.

After sleeping the night at the temple along with almost 200 other reform teenagers from all over the country, they headed to a pre-march meeting and service hosted by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

“The service was really unique. We had the chance to hear students from Parkland speak about how their lives have been changed and how the Jewish community was a place that they could lean on.

“We also had a piece from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is the representative for Parkland’s district and was the former chairperson for the Democratic National Committee,” Snyder said.

The movement marched from their service led by the Parkland students straight to the national mall, where they mixed into the crowd, estimated to have over 500,000 people.

“I felt like a part of something bigger, part of a movement, a family. It gave me hope for the future and made me feel that this world might just be able to fix itself,” Grace said.

Although it was virtually impossible to get close to the front of the crowd, TV screens were placed along the sidewalks so that the crowd, stretching almost six blocks back, could experience the powerful testimonies and cries from the speakers.

“Being at the march will be something I [will] never forget.  The speakers at the march were all teens and children who had been personally affected by gun violence around the country.  Their message was clear: that we will not stop until something is done,” Schwartz said.

Multiple celebrities made an appearance, either performing one of their songs or addressing the crowd with words of inspiration. Some of these individuals include Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Miley Cyrus, and the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.