Today marks 14 years since our nation was attacked on our home turf. 3000 innocent lives taken, thousands of families torn apart. I can remember it like it as yesterday. 5th grade, blue room @ Heschel. We had just returned from morning recess. Judith comes in and tells us that a plane had just hit the world trade center and that we were all going home. What did we know about terrorism at that age? 

I literally thought a plane just hit the tall building by mistake…

Next thing I knew we were on my roof looking south on a huge black balloon of soot. That balloon didn’t dissipate for weeks. The footage was on repeat on every channel. Network TV, ESPN, you couldn’t escape it. To this day I remember the recurring nightmare I had for months about being kidnapped on my street corner by a terrorist.

Terrorism had a meaning for the first time in my life. 

Now we fast forward, families still recovering from the devastation that occurred on that Tuesday morning. And on this past Tuesday morning, we paved the way for a terrorist regime to legally attain nuclear weapons in the next 14 years. A nation that vows to destroy Israel and burns American flags in the streets. 

Doesn’t Sept 11, 2011--14 years ago-- seem like it was yesterday?

In the next 14 years, we are going to be defending our home turf once again. This time, against an nuclear-armed enemy that we’ve reemerged into the world economy and handed over weapons of mass destruction to. An enemy that within hours of news from the White House this week vowed that “there will be no Israel in 25 years” and will never renegotiate with the US. Here’s the exact quote from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

“I am telling you, first, you will not be around in 25 years’ time, and God willing, there will be no Zionist regime in 25 years. Second, during this period, the spirit of fighting, heroism and jihad will keep you worried every moment.” 

I really can’t seem to wrap my head around the decision that our government just made. Yet, I’m so proud of the efforts of AIPAC and my peers that helped spread knowledge and awareness on the issue in a short matter of weeks. While it was definitely a defeat, there’s no time to hang up the towel and efforts now need to be shifted to defense. 

Here’s to keeping America as a land of opportunity & freedom, where capitalism spurs innovation and creativity. Here’s to Israel, who continues to be our only sovereign democracy and ally in the region, a country that lives on even in the face of enemies who swear to destroy it every day. Here’s to the resilience of New York City & Tel Aviv, and to our governments that work to protect us each day. And here’s to the lives of our fellow citizens and servicemen in both countries that lost their lives for the sake of all of our freedoms. You will never be forgotten.

#nycstrong #proudtobeanamerican #proudtobeanisraeli