“And the Living Shall Take to Heart”
“It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living shall take to heart.” Ecclesiastes (7:2)
When one goes to a place of mourning, anecdotes describing the fine qualities of the deceased are usually shared. The living can learn from these stories and improve themselves by emulating the characteristics of the person who has passed on.
Various projects have helped carry on Ari’s legacy and have spread Ari’s message of love and hope for the world to share.
This fund was established in 1994, following the brutal shooting of Ari Halberstam. The fund organizes fund raising campaigns to distribute funds to various causes. Ari’s fund helps give educational scholarships to underprivileged students and works closely with other community organizations in their fund raising efforts. Many of the following projects were funded by the Ari Halberstam Memorial Fund.
It’s a world famous landmark that New Yorkers are proud of. But for Jews, the Brooklyn Bridge is also a bitter reminder of the anti-Semitic violence that killed Ari Halberstam, and injured Nochum Sosonkin for life. Thousands of people ride the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp daily, and remember the young boy whose life was taken because he was a Jew.
When Ari used to return home from a full day of learning at his Crown Heights yeshiva, he would rush to the basketball court across from his house and pound out his energy in a basketball game. He was a basketball hero. Ever since Ari’s life was taken, his teammates feel it’s not the same anymore. Ari’s life and ability in sports are honored annually by Barry Panzer, who coaches the basketball league at Kingsway Jewish Center by dedicating an award in memory of this teenager who was on equally strong footing in the basketball court as he was in the bais medrash (house of study). Panzer, who started the league for 5 to 12 year-old yeshiva day school students two years ago, noted that newspaper articles described Ari as a sports fan and basketball player, he therefore named an award in his memory for players who represent sportsmanship, team spirit, and positive values. Ari has become a role model for young players to emulate, because he was a boy who loved basketball as well as Torah.
The multi-media Jewish Children’s Museum, the first of its kind in the world, opened in 2001. A place of learning and wonder, the Jewish Children’s Museum is a unique institution where children and their parents – from all segments of the community – can explore jewish history and heritage in a stimulating and interactive environment. With hands-on exhibits focusing on Jewish holidays, biblical history, the land of Israel, contemporary Jewish life and more, the Jewish Children’s Museum celebrates and explores many aspects of Jewish culture. Through innovative multi-media technology, Jewish history, values and culture come to life at the Museum. The Museum features multi-media marvels, an art gallery, two state-of-the-art computer labs, a game show studio, a 75-seat audiovisual theater, a miniature golf course and a craft workshop. These are but some of the wonders within the museum’s 50,000 square foot multi-media wired structure.
The Jewish Children’s Museum is dedicated to Ari’s memory. The Museum perpetuates Ari’s zest for life and love for his heritage. Devorah Halberstam is the museum’s Director of Foundation and Government Services.
For more information, visit www.jcm.museum.
|Sample GUNKIT Advertisement|
The March 1 shooting on the Brooklyn Bridge was committed with an automatic weapon assembled from a mail-order gun kit. Ari’s Law would require a license in order to possess a Gun Kit from which a firearm could be produced. Recently (June 1, 2000) a Press Conference was held in front of the Brooklyn Bridge with Devorah Halberstam and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). Nadler said he’d introduce a bill to extend the federal ban on the sale of firearms by mail to include key parts, such as a barrel, stock or any part of the action. He and other gun-control advocates said sales of gun kits are increasing through the Internet and gun magazines. The ad that is shown here is typical of gun magazines, and is actually one of the guns Baz used in the shooting. For $160, buyers can obtain most of the parts of an automatic weapon, which Nadler contends then can be easily turned into functioning firearms. He said he expects opposition to his bill from the National Rifle Association, “because the NRA is nuts.” Except for the Brooklyn Bridge attack, the gun kits have not been a problem in New York, according to police.
|Ari’s grandfather dancing with the Torah|
To mark the first yartzeit (day of passing) of Ari, a Torah Scroll was completed and donated to the high school Ari attended. Using a quill, a Jewish scribe, Ari’s uncle, began the tedious and intense process of copying more than 300,000 letters of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, onto a parchment scroll. Each Hebrew character is written in the same style, and with the same tools, that Jews have used since the time of Moses, more than 3,500 years ago. The evening began with the mourner’s Kaddish. Then, hundreds of participants took their turn writing their very own letter in the Torah scroll. The Torah was then dressed in a coat of rich fabric on which the names of the donors were embroidered. It was also adorned with a silver crown. The Torah was then paraded under the chupah (canopy). The Chupah is used because spiritually the Torah is the bride of the Jewish people and, like a bride, has a cherished place in their hearts. Hundreds of people held torches as the Torah was escorted to the synagogue. There, everyone took turns dancing with the Torah, for the great joy of having a scroll written and completed in the memory of a boy who died sanctifying the name of G-d. Shown, is a picture of Ari’s grandfather dancing with the Torah.
A completely out fitted ambulance was dedicated and given to the Hatzolah Community Services Organization. It is in these ways that we are able to turn such tragedy and pain into light and positivity. Each time that ambulance goes out to save another life we are honoring Ari’s memory and keeping him alive in our hearts and minds.