Tom Goldberger | DCM, Embassy Tel Aviv |

United States Embassy, Israel
Remarks by DCM Thomas Goldberger
Memorial Ceremony for Hagay Shefi
At the Israel Bar
September 22, 2011

Mr. Bombach, Justices, judges distinguished guests, and, especially General and Mrs. Shefi and the Shefi family.
Thank you for inviting me to share this special and emotional moment.  Please accept my renewed condolences for Hagay’s death, and for the deaths of four other Israeli citizens on September 11, 2001: Alona Avraham, Leon Lebor, Shai Levinhar, and Daniel Lewin.
  Israel’s loss is the world's loss. 
Last year, I had the privilege of attending the dedication ceremony for the Hagay Shefi Gate at Bar- Ilan University.  I had read about Hagay's story, about his brilliance with technology and success as a business leader that took him to the World Trade Center that day.  But it was only after hearing the moving memories of his friends, family, and educators --including his academic dean and the President of Bar Ilan University -- that could I truly grasp what a tragedy it was for Hagay to be taken from all of us so early.

Hagay's death reminds us that the September 11 attacks were not just an attack on America.  Citizens from 90 countries died that day, and the tragedy extends to every country and every society that values freedom, the rule of law, and has a profound respect for human life.  Israel is one of those countries, as celebrated here at the Israel Bar Association.
After the September 11 attacks, the rest of the world offered America sympathy.  You, as Israelis, offered empathy.  You knew the pain.  Even more importantly, you offered us the only appropriate model for reacting to terror: resilience.
On a national level, I am touched by the resilience of the Israeli people.  Israel mourns as a nation, weeps as a nation, and moves on as a nation.  By living normal lives, Israelis prevent terrorism from claiming even more victims.
On a personal level, the resilience of the Shefi family is astounding. The Shefi family has been instrumental in establishing eleven memorials in Israel to recognize and celebrate the lives of the victims of the attacks.
 Yishai’s moving musical compositions honoring his brother have touched people across the world.
We, as Americans, do our best to follow this model. By living normal lives, we fight terror on a daily basis.  President Obama said during his speech on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, “New York remains a vibrant capital of the arts and industry, fashion and commerce.  Our people still work in skyscrapers.  Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball.  Our airports hum with travel, and our buses and subways take millions where they need to go.  This land pulses with the optimism of those who set out for distant shores, and the courage of those who died for human freedom.”
Ladies and gentlemen.  Resilience does not mean that we forget.  It means that we remember, and we use those memories as inspiration to reach our potential, to be kind to one another, and to live every day to its fullest.
May we all do just that, in Hagay’s honor, and in honor of victims all around the world.