NEW YORK (JTA) – The FBI recognized the Brooklyn mother of a terrorist victim for her advocacy of anti-terrorism and anti-gun laws.
Devorah Halberstam, whose 16-year-old son Ari was shot and killed in 1994 while traveling across the Brooklyn Bridge in a van with other Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva students, was presented the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award in a Dec. 10 ceremony.
Since his murder, Halberstam has worked to promote legislation combating terrorism, including securing the passage of the New York Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 with then-New York Gov. George Pataki and establishing Ari’s Law, an interstate gun-trafficking measure. Pataki also appointed Halberstam to sit on the state’s first Commission on Terrorism.
FBI Assistant Director Joseph Demarest in presenting the award recognized Halberstam’s “endless pursuit of justice, everlasting love for her family, dedication for victim’s rights and patriotism for her country,” according to Chabad.org News.
“I am proud of the FBI for helping me transform my grief into battling terrorism,” Halberstam said at the ceremony, Chabad.org News reported.
In the Brooklyn Bridge shooting, Muslim gunman Rashid Baz ambushed the students’ van on a ramp leading to the bridge and allegedly shouted “kill the Jews” in Arabic while spraying the van with submachine gun fire.
Halberstam’s accomplishments since her son’s murder also include helping to found the Jewish Children’s Museum in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.