“Ever since October 7th, it felt like I was gasping for air,” a student from NYU told me during my lecture to a contingent of students that arrived here from the United States.

“The last several months on campus have been one huge anti-Semitic nightmare,” he continued. “But now I feel that I can breathe again. We came here to contribute and to help, and each one of us had collected a lot of money that we donated to grieving families and to evacuees in hotels — but we also gained a lot from our visit. We received an identity, a sense of belongingness and meaning. I will never forget Shabbat in Jerusalem. I will never forget our visit to the rehabilitation department in Tel HaShomer and to the farmers in the south. There is no spirit like this anywhere else in the world. I return to campus tomorrow completely different.”

And then a girl recalled the famous verse from the book of Isaiah: “For from Zion the Torah will go forth, and the word of god from Jerusalem.” She related how one of her lecturers at the university took her aside and whispered, “I envy you traveling to Israel, you are on the right side of history.” But he was not willing to say this aloud in front of the class. “The world is completely confused,” she said. “Students in my class who consider themselves liberal and progressive support Hamas without shame. Our week here was a week of moral clarity. To be reminded that there is good and evil and to stand by the side of those who are good. I truly feel ‘from Zion the Torah will go forth, and the word of god from Jerusalem.’”

During my lecture I understood: They did not only come here to support us, but in order for us to support them.

Thank you for coming.  May we hear good news.