By CR Werner, BaltimoreJewishLife.com
Dec. 20 – Sunday, a week ago, the Jewish Victims of Terror project held its 2nd annual event in memory of reporter Daniel Pearl, H’yd. In 2002, Daniel was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan. The Jewish Victims of Terror event, held at The Suburban Club, focused on celebrating strength and resilience in the face of terrorist activities.
Renee Cohen, representing Senator Ben Cardin and his wife Myrna, thanked the Friends of Lubavitch for honoring the victims of terror. Reading a letter from the senator, she acknowledged the challenges we face living in a terrorist world and expressed a prayer for the strength of character and faith exemplified by Daniel.
Members of the project’s committee were Rochelle Kaplan, Hillary Wohl and Jeannie Gruzin Siegel. Ms. Wohl spoke about the uniqueness of the event that brought people together to share feelings of hope and renewal. Although Jews have always been a minority amongst the nations, she said, our spirit has remained vibrant. She identified the Torah as the source of our strength that has enabled us to persevere as a “light unto the nations.”
Recalling Daniel Pearl’s last words, “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, and I am Jewish,” Ms. Wohl promised to honor those who died as martyrs at the hands of terrorists and to carry on their message.
Rochelle Kaplan, director of the committee, emphasized the unity Jews have as a people, whether in joy or pain, and the positive action we can achieve. On a note of hope for the future, she announced Chabad’s plans to open the Center for Adult Jewish Education in Pikesville, MD.
The keynote speaker, Daniel’s father, Dr. Judea Pearl, began his address with a prayer, asking to be made worthy of speaking on behalf of terror victims. He expounded on Daniel’s last words, citing Daniel’s Judaism as the source of his strength and commitment. These words and his message to the world, Dr. Pearl explained, also emphasize the freedoms we have in the free world and help its citizens take pride in who they are.
“Despite all the protests and criticisms we hear around us,” Dr. Pearl said, “we can be mighty proud of who we are.”
Dr. Pearl also read a poem he composed about Daniel’s last reaffirming words. He reiterated the challenges we face as Jews in the 21st century, when so many celebrities will fight for a variety of global causes, but no one will fight against the terror that threatens our way of life. Despite these challenges, however, he also expressed a strong belief that humanity will prevail.
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