The Israeli Day Parade. I’ve had the privilege of attending since I was in fourth grade, and as I get older, I appreciate it more and more each year. While some of my classmates think of it as a distraction, taking away from valuable study time during final exams, I truly enjoy going to the parade—and this year was no different.

As I lined up with my school in preparation to march down Fifth Avenue, I glanced around and saw dozens of other schools doing the same, all wearing bright colored matching T-shirts and waving banners. At that moment, I couldn’t help but look around and feel a sense of achdut (unity). Thousands of people gathered for the same purpose—to celebrate the establishment of Israel.

Courtesy of Molly Feder (right).

As we began to walk, music blasted and people broke out into song and dance. Passing by spectators on the streets, my friends and I would wave, making us feel like celebrities. The energy that surrounded us was enthralling—there were photographers and videographers everywhere, tourists take pictures and my school even received a shout out. As we continued to walk, I glanced towards the onlookers for my family, quickly stopping for a picture once finding them in the immense crowd. We eventually passed by a group of people protesting the establishment of Israel, but our cheers did not dwindle; this negativity only intensified our passion and our cheers became louder.

Through all the fun, I realized that there is still a lesson to be learned, especially given the rise of the BDS movement on college campuses and the ongoing terror attacks in Israel—it is important to stand up. Stand up to the people who do not to believe that Jews have a right to Israel’s land, to the people who refuse to acknowledge Israel’s existence. We must take pride in the fact that we are a part of something bigger, something we share with all other parade participants. Am Yisrael.

Molly Feder is a sophomore at HAFTR High School in Cedarhurst, N.Y.