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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 2, 1994


This afternoon, I spoke with the family of Aaron Halberstam, the Lubavitcher student who was critically wounded by gunfire in Brooklyn yesterday. My prayers are with them, with their son, and with all of those affected by this spasm of brutal violence. It is an outrage that this crime, which has overtones of a hate crime, could occur in our American community. And it is a tragedy that such a tender, intelligent boy could be the victim of such brutality and immutable violence.

For American Jewry, as for all of us, our country's unique tradition of tolerance and religious freedom makes us a refuge from the hatred and inhumanity that divides so many other cultures in this world. We respect the humanity we find in each other, and anything which attacks the bonds of community which unite us is an attack on us all.

I commend the New York City Police Department for its swift and apparently successful investigation of this crime, and I would appeal to all men and women of good will -- shocked as we are by this violence -- to be calm and respectful of our system of justice. Those of us fighting for the safety and security of our neighborhoods, and for America's religious and cultural freedoms, will prevail.