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O My America: Look Who’s Here!

September 22, 2014
Climarch 2by Lawrence Bush Photo by Gary Sales IT WAS TOUGH ON MY BODY, to be standing there on W. 58th Street and holding up our eight-foot Jewish Currents “Save the Planet” sign — the only sign I saw with Yiddish on it — for three full hours before our sector of the march began to walk, but LOOK WHO’S HERE! Reena Bernards, former director of New Jewish Agenda, with beautiful Evelyn Sucher, another Agendanik... and Bennett Muraskin, our magazine’s longtime contributing writer, and Basia Yoffe, our passionate environmental columnist, and Sheldon Ranz, who’s been writing for us for nearly forty years... and Irwin Rosenthal, my Life Subscriber buddy from Ellenville/Woodstock, and Yosaif August, my old men’s-group pal, and Esther Cohen and her entourage... and Rabbi Peter Schweitzer of the City Congregation... and Sally Gottesman, who recently wrote passionately about Israel for our website... and Neal Rosenstein of the Puffin Foundation, which has been so crucial to Jewish Currents’ expansion these recent years... and Rabbis Julie Greenberg and Sue Elwell and Tikkun’s Michael Lerner... and Norman Zamcheck, a musician who’s a Jewdayo enthusiast... and up at the microphone (couldn’t make out a word they were saying, the echoes were way too much), my old Reconstructionist compatriot Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, who did so much organizing around this march... For three hours my life and career in the Jewish community flashed before my eyes and made standing around just fine and dandy. At 2 PM, scores of shofars blasted, and then we got to march — across 59th Street, past all the fancy hotels, to Sixth Avenue, then down to 42nd Street, then west past Times Square and south down 11th Avenue. Carrying the Jewish Currents banner with my beloved Susan was like dancing — and the streets were ours to dance down, no traffic, tons of drumbeats, children on shoulders, toddlers in strollers, witty signs everywhere, cops happy with their overtime. I thought about terrorism-amid-the-crowd-of-New-Yorkers only once. The whole event felt so very retro, so very 1970s, so very I Love New Yorkish. Today I’ve got shin splints, I feel my age, I’m eager for my solar panels to be installed on my roof, and I’m wondering what will happen when the United Nations does next-to-nothing about climate change this week (China, it’s said, is not even showing up). How will worldwide democratic protest exert itself next against the inertia and greed of the powers-that-be? NPR told me this morning that only 20 percent of Republicans in our country consider climate change to be a problem. Which reminded me of one outstanding sign at the People’s Climate March: A woman in a pink sundress and an electric pink wig, who was standing in front of the Fox News Building on Sixth Avenue with a sign that said NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER VOTE REPUBLICAN! It was the most practical advice offered at the People’s Climate March. Keynmol lz shtimn republicaner! And by the time we march again, I’ll have figured out how to print that on another Jewish Currents banner. Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.