web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Devorah Halberstam: A Letter To An Amazing Woman

LBJ-032814-Halberstam

I remember when it happened. March 1, 1994. I remember the horror and sense of devastation. Jewish children targeted once again! A van filled with yeshiva students on the Brooklyn Bridge sprayed with bullets… four were shot and one died as a result of his injuries – sixteen-year-old Ari Halberstam.

All I remember thinking is “How is his mother coping with her devastating tragedy and wondering if she had collapsed under the horrific blow, unable to face life in its aftermath, in the absence of her beloved firstborn.”

Over the years there has been no shortage of reporting about Devorah Halberstam, Ari’s mother.  Even in Israel, thousands of miles from the Halberstam home, there have been frequent references in the media to Ari’s mother. Do you know why?

Because Devorah Halberstam, the beautiful young Jewish mother, did not collapse. On the contrary, she rose like a phoenix from the fire. She accurately identified the shooting as a terrorist act and criticized the authorities for treating it as an ordinary homicide. She fought – the police, the FBI and the U.S. Congress – to have Ari’s death investigated as a politically-motivated act of terrorism.

In the process she developed relationships with law enforcement officials at the highest levels. With rare insight and determination, she cut through political correctness during the pre-September-11 era, an unheard of accomplishment. Former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credits Devorah Halberstam with being a “a major force in the political world” and having a powerful impact on the creation of anti-terrorism laws in New York State, among them “Ari’s Law,” a comprehensive New York State law controlling gun trafficking across state lines.

Mrs. Halberstam admits that she never dreamed her efforts would affect this type of outcome. Initially her aim was to fight for the truth and have the shooting recognized as a terrorist act. She has fought to have the authorities pursue other avenues of investigation: Who helped to inspire the attack, plan it, and conspire to shelter the attacker in the hours after the shooting? An insightful, sensible approach. Why did it take a young Jewish woman without any training in criminal investigation to promote it?

Even when they finally accepted that the shooting was nationalistically motivated, the authorities insisted the attack was an Arab gunman’s angry response to the massacre in Hebron several days earlier, when Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a Kiryat Arba physician, shot 29 Palestinians.

Ari Halberstam had been a passenger in a car full of Chabad students following the Lubavticher Rebbe’s motorcade as he returned to Crown Heights after eye surgery. Mrs. Halberstam has always maintained that the van was a target of convenience for the Arab terrorist.

She reached out to powerful politicians and collected letters of support to have a Brooklyn Bridge ramp named for her son. What’s more, she succeeded in raising millions of dollars for the construction of a Jewish children’s museum in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn dedicated to his memory. She sued the companies that manufactured the guns used in her son’s killing. She pressured the state to pass Ari’s Law, which requires a license to possess a gun kit and is meant to curtail interstate gun trafficking.

A turning point was reached in 1999, when New York’s governor as well as U.S. senators and congressmen renewed calls for a reassessment of the case. The FBI finally responded, describing the shooting as an act of terror.

In June 2000, then-Governor George Pataki, appointed Devorah Halberstam to serve on New York State’s first Commission on Terrorism. Can you fathom this accomplishment? Now she was directly involved in her campaign to have authorities deal differently with terrorist crimes, to scrutinize the milieu from which terrorists came, map their networks and monitor their associates.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Devorah Halberstam: A Letter To An Amazing Woman”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mrs Halberstam is a real soldier fighting terrorism. Eshet Hayil.

  2. i was a chabadnic back then i remember this

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881
Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

Respler-022715

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

LBJ-021315

This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.

In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs

Her cherished plan to take the Hebrew theater group Habimah to Eretz Yisrael was not greeted with enthusiasm by the actors.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/devorah-halberstam-a-letter-to-an-amazing-woman/2014/03/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: