I am pretty sure that since the age of ten, I have attended every single New York City Salute to Israel Parade except for one. I attend every year because I enjoy doing so and also out of a sense of obligation. I feel strongly that my attendance as a bystander or a marcher is a way to show support for and loyalty to the state of Israel and to the Jewish people in general. In addition I think it is important to show the local community as well as the global stage that Jews of all types, observant and less so, are supportive of and even passionate about their care for Israel. The media picks up on parades and we all know the importance of media in shaping popular and specific opinions about Israel, which is unfortunately one of the most criticized nations of the modern world.

Most years the New York City parade has been blessed with good weather. This year, nope. This year we faced some heavy rain, some light rain, and constant gray skies. This was not very encouraging for marchers or viewers, but I would not let inclement weather keep me from the parade. And my older daughter Jess wanted to march again this year with the youth group Young Judaea, along with a couple of her closest friends.

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We heard dire reports of cruddy weather for days in advance, but my daughter (and her younger sister, who couldn't attend this year in order to attend her final art class of the school year) had a fun slumber party the night before the parade, with Mara and Jakob. And minor miracle, when I told the kids all to go to sleep by 1AM, so we would be rested up for the parade, they listened to me.

Sunday morning, Jess, Mara, Jakob and I traveled by train to midtown Manhattan and we were all excited for the parade. But when we saw heavy rain pelting our train car within minutes of sitting in it, I was far from thrilled. And non-genius that I am, I had only brought two umbrellas with us.

When we left the Manhattan train station near the parade line-up areas, we walked rapidly but our clothes got very wet. It ain't ideal to march with squishy shoes. But heck, we did it. Our group (along with a few others such as Arza and Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)), congregated by MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. We were given lime green group T-shirts, small Israeli flags and best of all, clear plastic ponchos. And of course, as soon as we began to march, the rain began to lessen.

But I am a sucker for a parade. I love the spirit, the camaraderie, the colorful floats and T-shirts and props. the music and the fun feeling of trotting up the middle of 5th Avenue, one of the best known streets in the United States. At one point our friend Randy (Jakob's dad) put a megaphone near me and I sang-shouted in a rough but energetic manner. We all clapped and sang and marched in a rather non-professional manner. But it was fun. I joked with people that this was the "bad hair parade," and indeed it was. I waved to some friend I saw on the sidelines, including Adam, a fellow I had gone to school with from first through ninth grades. My friends Toni and Adam were further north but when they heard me call their names they cheered for me.

Overall this was fun, even though my left knee and both feet were achy afterward. But the rain did cut down on the number of spectators. This was perhaps the sparsest crowd I have ever encountered at the parade. Still, we made it, we had fun, we showed the world our spirit in the face of precipitation. Huzzah, y'all.

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