Amichai Ariel – Father of murdered 13 year old Hallel Ariel and Ari Schonbrun – 9/11 Survivor
When I got the text at 9:30 last night from Yaakov Morgenstern I did a double take. He told me that Amichai Ariel would love to see me. “Where are you”? I asked him. He told me that he was in Woodmere with the Ariels where they are speaking at a friend’s house. “Give me the address and I will be there in 15 minutes” I told him. When I got there a half hour later, they were still speaking. When they finished, Amichai spotted me in a hallway and came over to me. We hugged and we gave each other a blessing. Very fitting as we are both Kohanim (Jewish Priests). As happy a moment that it was, it was also a very solemn moment. I had no words for him but the looks that we gave each other were enough as we hugged again. What most people don’t know is that Amichai lost his first wife when she was 45. He then married Rina and started a second family.
Amichai and I dormed in High School together in Israel and I had not seen him since we graduated 41 years ago. After 9/11 he sent me a fax thanking G-d for saving me that day. It was a very touching fax which I saved amongst my 9/11 papers and artifacts.
Amichai and his wife Rina are in America raising money for a community center in Kiryat Arba, where they live, in memory of Hallel. Their talk was very moving and I don’t know where they get the strength to do what they are doing.
When asked how they can continue to live in Kiryat Arba after what happened Amichai said, “This is my home. Nobody is going to chase me out of my home. Is it hard? Of course it’s hard. I cannot walk where the Arab who murdered my daughter walked but I will never leave my home”.
My dear friend Amichai, my love for you today is as strong as it was when we were in high school and I pray that Hashem (G-d) should continue to give you the strength needed to continue to turn this into a positive.
If you would like to donate to this cause you can make checks payable to:
Just One Life Special Fund, 587 5th Avenue Suite 702, New York, NY 10017