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Bronx Leaders Stand with SAR in Supporting Israel

(left to right): Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, SAR Academy Principal, Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark; Congressman Ritchie Torres

On a solemn Friday morning at the Salanter Akiba of Riverdale Academy in Bronx, New York, a day when some schools considered closing due to threats of violence, a powerful display of unity and support for the State of Israel unfolded as Bronx leadership joined over 900 students, faculty, and staff in a poignant prayer service for the State and people of Israel. This ceremony in its entirety can be viewed here.

Congressman Ritchie Torres, Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark stood shoulder to shoulder with 800 SAR Academy students and teachers to offer their unwavering support and prayers for Israel. After assisting students in packing essential equipment and supplies to be airlifted to Israel, Congressman Torres visited SAR High School where he addressed the entire student body and took questions.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark assures students that they have her full support and her commitment of safety.

The unprecedented gathering at SAR reflects the gravity of the war in Israel and the community’s solidarity. Students have gathered at SAR Academy and SAR High School every morning this week, standing together in prayer for Israel, its soldiers and civilians.

Congressman Torres, addressing the assembled students, emphasized the enduring commitment of the United States to stand by Israel. He stated, “I see you. I hear you. I love you. I will have your back. Please know that despite this dark moment, Israel will live on, and it has the support of the United States. We’re all going to emerge better and stronger from this moment of darkness, this moment of adversity.” 

Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson echoed the sentiment, reaffirming the rejection of terrorism and anti-Semitism. “We stand together in love, in peace, and in unity. We are mourning the loss of so many of our brothers and sisters in Israel. Children, families, mothers and fathers, grandparents who are brutalized and assaulted. We reject this violence and we reject this hate. We will continue to pray for our people. We will continue to stand and support the State of Israel right here in the Bronx.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark assured students that they have her full support and her commitment of safety. She shared, “As district attorney, my job is public safety. I can tell you this, that if somebody hates one of us, they hate all of us. As your district attorney, I will make sure that you continue to be safe. You are the answer. As I look out and I know that is so bleak and so devastating as to what is happening, but as I look out in your faces, I see the hope for the world. Young people just know that in spite of all that is happening, these terrorists will never win because you are here to make sure that they won’t.”

“Today, a day that some people thought we shouldn’t come to school, we are so grateful to the NYPD and our local leadership,” said Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, Principal, SAR Academy. “Never before have we gathered on these steps for five days in a row. But never before has there been a week, unfortunately, like this week.” He continued, “We spoke on Monday about this week’s Torah portion being about Beresheet and about darkness, but then God created light. And actually, today, on Friday, on the sixth day, Hashem said, ‘Let us make man.’ He didn’t say, ‘let me make man’, he actually said, ‘I’m going to need your partnership, to make sure that every man and every woman is treated in the image of God, because every man and every woman was created in the image of God and every single person in this world matters deeply. And that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Throughout the week, the SAR community has mobilized to collect and donate funds to assist Israel. Students, faculty and community members collected nearly 16,000 essential items packed by volunteers to be airlifted to the frontlines. Students have written letters to soldiers which have been hand-delivered to military bases and connected with friends and faculty now living in Israel, some called up to serve in the military. Teachers have opened their classrooms virtually and launched a website of educational resources for students in Israel whose schools are currently closed.