The heroic rabbi who was wounded in the California synagogue shooting last Saturday said President Trump is supportive of reintroducing a “moment of silence” back into public schools.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who wasn’t on the official schedule, was invited by Trump to the podium at the service for the National Day of Prayer. As Trump stated: “There was no one who expressed the horror and beauty of what you represent better than you did.”
Goldstein, with bandages on his hands, recalled the horrific moment the shooter entered his synagogue. And he said one thing that will help the healing is bringing back the moment of silence in school.
“Children [are] not growing up with values that our Founding Fathers started,” he said. “Something seems fundamentally wrong when there’s a generation of kids growing up doing what they’re doing.”
One person died in the shooting.
“Just five days ago, on Saturday morning, I faced evil in the worst darkness of all time right in our own house of worship, right at Chabad of Poway,” Goldstein said to the faith leaders gathered in the Rose Garden. “I faced him and I had to make a decision: Do I run and hide or do I stand tall and fight and protect all those that are there?”
He recalled the words of his Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, who taught him “the way we react to darkness is with light.”
“It was that moment that I made a decision, that no matter what happens to me I was going to save as many people as possible. I should’ve been dead by now based on the rule of statistics. I was in the line of fire, bullets flying all the way, my fingers got blown off, but I did not stop. The rebbe taught me, as a soldier of God, you need to stand tall and stand fast do what it takes to change the world.”
“My life has changed forever,” he continued, “but it changed so that I can make change, and that I can help others learn how to be strong and mighty and tall. Many have asked me, ‘Rabbi, where do we go from here? How do we prevent this?'”
“My response is what the Rebbe [said] when President Ronald Reagan was shot. The Rebbe said we need to go back to the basics and introduce a Moment of Silence in all public schools,” the rabbi said to applause. “So that children from early childhood on can recognize that there is more good to the world, that they are valuable, there is accountability and every human being is created in God’s image. If something good will come out of this terrible, terrible horrific event, let us bring back a Moment of Silence to our public school system … ”
The rabbi ended by thanking Trump for his response as a “mensch par excellence.”
Goldstein turned to Trump: “Mr. President when you called me I was at home weeping. You were the first person who began my healing. You heal people in their worst of times and I’m so grateful for that. You have helped me bring great honor to Mrs. Lori Kaye…”
Trump called him a “great man” with “beautiful words.”
“He said this is my greatest moment in life,” Trump added. ” To go from darkness to the White House.”
Goldstein was accompanied by congregants and fellow heroes of the attack, Oscar Stewart, the combat veteran who chased the shooter from the synagogue; and Jonathan Morales, the off-duty border-patrol agent who took up the chase and managed to shoot the attacker’s car several times.
The president asked both men to share a few words. Like his rabbi, Morales quoted the Rebbe and asked his audience to increase in mitzvah observance and acts of goodness and kindness.
Following the rabbi’s emotional remarks, the president thanked him, saying that “truly your courage and grace and devotion touches every heart and soul in America.”