Thursday, September 8, 2016

Memories of a daughter rush to the surface - by Stephen M. Flatow

As the father of terror victims’ rights cases, our lawsuit was the first, I can only shake my head in frustration at this latest turn in events. Would the result have been different if, rather than urging the court to go easy on the defendants and not require a stiff money bond on appeal, the government had stayed out of the case? I don't know. But if the U.S. government won't weigh in on the side of terror victims and stand united with them, who will. And, if not now, when?

Alisa Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow..
07 September '16..

While walking through my Jerusalem hotel dining room thinking about the news from the states that a U.S. court has tossed out a $655 million terrorism judgment, a young woman came up and gave me a big “Hi!”

Seeing that I was not connecting her face and name, she spared me that now all too frequent embarrassment and quickly said, “Sarah.” She was one of the first girls that my late daughter Alisa met when we moved to West Orange, New Jersey in 1978. She and Alisa attended nursery school and then started yeshiva together, and it was this now 41-year-old woman who - as a 5-year-old - became our first Shabbat afternoon guest.

She was in Jerusalem with her family attending several family celebrations. And there she sat with two of her own daughters. We caught up on things in a couple of minutes and then she had to run as she needed to get the day started.

Finishing breakfast, I picked up my iPhone and started to type. Always saying I pay more attention to this mini-computer than her, my wife, Rosalyn, turned to me with more than her normal annoyance and said, “Who are you texting now?”

I had a hard time getting the words out. The thought that crossed my mind a minute earlier that caused me to pick up the phone and write was, “that could have been Alisa sitting there, 41-years-old, attending family celebrations in Jerusalem."

As her eyes filled with tears, Roz put down her coffee cup and looked out the window into the distance as parents of murdered children often do.

I know I‘m not the first parent of a terror victim to have thoughts of what their children would be doing today. It’s that it just doesn't happen very often to me.

Instead, every day I face the reality that Alisa was taken from us 21 years ago, that I will never again have a new photo of her, that my four granddaughters named after her will eventually be older than she was allowed to become, and that she will never be sitting in a Jerusalem hotel dining room getting ready to celebrate a family event. I accept all of that.

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