On March 11, 2014, Strength to Strength will be represented in Madrid, Spain and attend the memorials for the 2014 Madrid train bombings, as well as participate at the European Commission's 10th European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.
Sarri Singer, founder of Strength to Strength will be joined by Wendy Lanski, board member and survivor of 9-11. They will be part of group consisting of 20 victims of terrorism from various countries around the world coming together for a week of support, sharing and connecting.
The Madrid bombings which happened on March 11, 2004 took the lives of 191 innocent people and injured over 1800, affecting the entire city of Madrid.
To commemorate this special anniversary, Strength to Strength will be presenting a special book called "Strength for Spain" where members and partners wrote words of support and shared their experiences to show solidarity with the families of Madrid.
Additionally, with the assistance of Rabbi Uzi Beer, whose uncle, Alan Beer z"l, was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Israel on June 11, 2003, had his students from Yeshivat Noam in New Jersey, make cards with poems to share smiles and hope with the families. These messages will be presented to the Asociacion Victimas de Terrorismo (AVT) an organization that that Strength to Strength partners with on a number of initiatives.
The week will consist of attending a European Commission Reception with Stefano Manservisi, Director-General Home Affairs, visiting the opening of an exhibition titled "Europe Against Terrorism: The Glance of the Victim" with Spain's Minister of Home Affairs, the President of the Region of Madrid, The Mayor of Madrid and the President of Spain's Fundacion de Victimas Del Terrorismo, Catholic Mass in the presence of the Spanish Royal Family and other authorities at the Almudena Cathedral, Memorial Services for the victims and families at the Forest of Remembrance in Retiro Park and an evening memorial concert with the Spanish Royal Family and the victims, bereaved family members and first responders from the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings.
Below find a copy of the letter that Rabbi Uzi Beer wrote to the families in Madrid:
To my brothers and sisters in Madrid,
I don't know who you are, but I feel connected. I don't know how you are feeling, but I feel I can connect. It was just about eleven years ago that my uncle was murdered in a bus bombing in Israel. He boarded a bus on his way home and never made it. He was a great man and someone whom I felt very close and blessed to have been family.
Time heals, but only to an extent.
Very soon, you will be commemorating ten years since your tragedy, ten years since someone dear to your heart unknowingly said goodbye for the last time. Again, time heals, but only to an extent. Which is why we have each other. We join together to support and encourage each other. We continue to push each other to see the beauty in life, when a beautiful part of our lives is now gone. It is the friendship, bond and support, even amongst strangers, that encourages us to grieve, survive and live happily again.
I currently work as an administrator in a private Elementary School in northern New Jersey. With your anniversary approaching, we decided to conduct a grade wide project for our third graders. While I feel that they are too young to register your situation, they definitely understand what it means to share a smile and to provide poems that will hopefully bring a smile to your face. They are a special group of students with hearts striping and dedicated to helping those in their times of need.
On behalf of Yeshivat Noam and myself, we hope that these poems provide you with a smile, some strength and the knowledge that you are not alone, but in the hearts of nearly 90 American children.
May we all know no more sorrow and strengthen our relationships through joy and happiness. Stay strong and you are in our hearts.
Rabbi Uzi Beer