No Hate In Our States

By Myra Clark-Siegel

The Moment The Music Stood Still: October 7, 6:29 a.m. 

Recently, AJC’s (American Jewish Committee) three NY-based regional offices convened leaders across our regions to bear witness at the Nova Music Festival exhibit in New York City. The Nova Exhibit marks the moment the “Music Stood Still” as Hamas terrorists attacked the Nova Music Festival in Israel on October 7. 

Go see it: Novaexhibition.com

This heart-wrenching exhibit recreates the atmosphere, the scenes, the sounds, the moment our world and our lives were shattered on October 7. As difficult as it is, is how important the need to go – to bear witness, to say, “We will dance again”. 

This exhibit draws us in, forces us to lean in. Small screens and cell phones force us to draw in close to the scenes lovingly recreated to honor the memories of Israelis of all ages who were simply celebrating life and music. 

Teenagers. Mothers. Teachers. Musicians. Friends. 

We feel, we see, we hear, we smell the music festival in the moments before and after the Hamas attacks. Incense perfumes the air, draws us in to the sheer joy festival attendees had created to celebrate music and to celebrate life itself. 

And then, as we know, in gut-wrenching detail because of the very recordings the Hamas terrorists made themselves, our world STOPPED. But don’t stay away out of fear. 


Put yourself in this space – listen to the music that was playing at the festival, see the tents, the teddy bears, the Siddurim (yes, siddurim) that some participants had with them. 

Understand the diversity of Israel and the Jewish community in that space. Israelis united in their joy of CELEBRATING LIFE.

That is Israel. That is the Jewish community. We celebrate life. 

We  dance. We create.  

Take friends. Take non-Jewish friends and colleagues. Go together. Experience it. Talk about it. 

Use your voice. 

But go. 

Bear witness. 

We must never lose sight of what happened that day. 

We must never lose sight of the most important issue of all – for the hostages to be released safely and immediately from Gaza.

As the sense of right and wrong seems turned upside down these days, this exhibit is a powerful imperative to know what happened on October 7. Not through social media. Not through news articles, but through experience. We say “Hineni”. “Count on me.” 

Standing Proud: Jewish American Heritage Month 

And through it all, we just commemorated Jewish American Heritage Month during the month of May. This year especially, it is important to note that the Jewish community is not alone. We have many friends and allies who stand strong with the Jewish community. 

Indeed, a few days ago, we at AJC were honored to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month with Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Deputy Executive Ken Jenkins, and the Westchester County Board of Legislators. We stand strong based on shared values and dignity for all. Together. 

As we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of the American Jewish community across every aspect of society – the arts, medicine, law, education, research, business, and the very fabric of America, we stand resolute. 

We Will Dance Again. 

Myra Clark-Siegel is AJC Westchester/Fairfield regional director. To get involved or request an AJC speaker: AJC@westchester.org.