Story of a 9/11 Survivor An Interview with Ari Schonbrun
Ari Schonbrun had an enviable job. Focused, educated and determined, he was the global head of accounts receivable for Cantor Fitzgerald, whose company employed 960 employees in the World Trade Center, occupying the top five floors of Tower One.
Shiya and Sara Blima Guttman were a sweet young couple expecting their first child. Shiya learned in kolel, while Sara Blima worked in a local dry goods store, helping customers find the perfect pair of pants or matching bibs and accessories for their children.
As Sara Blima’s due date approached, the twenty-year-old mother-to-be began to panic. She had heard so many horror stories from well-meaning friends and older relatives. In fact, it seemed almost as if there was a macabre race going on—who could scare this young mother the most? Whose tale was the most dramatic, the most frightening, the one guaranteed to shock her out of her complacency?
Back in January, the odious headlines created ripples of shock, condemnation, and disgust. Could the media really stoop so low in their desire to sell papers?
The callous New York Post front-page headline, “Who didn’t want him dead?” and the mean-spirited innuendos mocking Reb Menachem Stark z”l, a devoted husband, father and baal tzedakah, only hours after his levayah, drew widespread condemnations and protests. They lampooned an innocent victim and, by default, tarred the Jewish community with the same bigoted brush.
The phone rang incessantly as Mrs. Miriam Lubling sat in the passenger seat of a car, being driven to the hospital by one of her devoted volunteers.
“Hello? Mrs. Lubling?” said a voice on the other line. “This is Tricia from the ER in NYU. We have a woman here from Israel with her daughter. She just showed up without an appointment and said you sent her.”
“What’s her name?” asked the woman.
It was an experience that doesn’t lend itself easily to description. But I’ll try.
Sandwiched among a sea of women and girls, davening minchah along with over 50,000 Yidden, feeling our collective tefillos ascend on High, was a powerful wake-up call. I would dare to compare it to tefillas Ne’ilah on Yom Hakippurim, just a week before Purim.
On Monday, we spoke with Rabbi Bleich, who was instrumental in founding many institutions serving the Kiev Jewish Community, and has been Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine since 1990. We reached him after midnight, (Kiev time,) and he had just emerged from a meeting with Jewish community leaders to assess the situation. While being driven home, since it’s too dangerous to walk alone at night, Rabbi Bleich gave us a picture of what is happening in the Maidan Square.
It was Tuesday afternoon, several days after the mammoth blizzard that nearly crippled Yerushalayim back in December. I had chosen that frigid week to visit Eretz Yisroel, planning to daven at the holy sites, visit old friends, and meet the people behind the organizations I had heard so much about.
She was a reigning queen for over a century.
Her palace? Her humble apartment in the Tamir, surrounded by her loving children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Five generations in all.
Her bountiful assets? The manifold chasodim she did, quietly, humbly, without fanfare.
The phone call came early one frigid winter morning.
Shlomo Zalman and Chaim Weiss, Edna’s two sons, were already at early minyan, but Chaviva, her youngest, was home. She was trying to coax her sleepy teens out of bed when her cell phone began ringing incessantly.
The so-called ‘Williamsburg Modesty Case,’ which pitted Williamsburg shopkeepers against the New York City Human Rights Commission, was dropped Tuesday morning, as the trial was about to begin. According to our sources, during a conference in his chambers, Judge John Spooner urged the Commission to withdraw the lawsuit, because it would not stand up in court. The lawyers of Kirkland & Ellis, who had been defending the shopkeepers pro bono, celebrated another successful victory for Constitutional rights in America.