The Poway rabbi injured in a terror attack days ago told President Donald Trump at Thursday’s National Day of Prayer service that the president was the first person to begin his healing.
President Trump stood at a podium in the Rose Garden as he recalled his first phone conversation with Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein. Goldstein lost multiple fingers in a struggle with a terrorist attacker at his synagogue in Poway, California. Trump said he wanted to bring him up to speak “because there was nobody that expressed the horror and the beauty of what you represent better than you did.”
“Just five days ago, Saturday morning, I faced evil and the worst darkness of all time, right in our own house of worship, right at Chabad of Poway” the rabbi began. “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?”
“We cannot control what others do, but we can control how we react,” he went on, speaking of his mentor’s teaching. “The way we react that darkness is with light. It was that moment that I made a decision, no matter what happens to me I’m going to save as many people as possible.”
The rabbi spoke of how his life is changed and how he can influence others to be strong. He called for a moment of silence to be introduced into all schools. He spoke of every human being made in God’s image.
He thanked the president and called him a “mensch par excellence.”
“You were the first person who began my healing,” the rabbi said of his approximately 25-minute call with President Trump. He turned to look at the president and revealed to the group of faith leaders that he had been at home weeping when the president’s call came in. “You heal people in their worst of times and I’m so grateful for that,” he said to the president standing next to him on the stage.
“That’s so beautiful. Thank you,” the president said quietly to the rabbi in response.
“You have helped me bring great honor to Mrs. Lori K,” Rabbi Goldstein said of the woman from the Chabad who was killed in the attack.
President Trump also honored Army Veteran Oscar Stewart and Border Patrol agent Jonathan Morales at the event for their part in trying to stop the attack.