Tzemach Yehudah Richter

A Special Tribute to First Responder Luis Alvarez


This past week, and only 18 days after appearing before a special subcommittee in Congress, Luis Alvarez passed away after a long illness, he was only 53.

I never met Luis, but did see him give testimony about the pain and suffering he had been through. Like most First Responders, he cared for his fellow Americans and fellow human beings. He was a brave person to come to Congress in the first place as he was not in the best of health when he made his way to Washington DC and had to enter a Hospice Center soon after giving testimony to spend his final days.

Luis came to Congress to plead for an extension of the special fund which was set up for all 9/11 victims. And he needed to make a point that First Responders were just as important as those victims that perished that fateful day. It was heartbreaking to watch him speak and seeing the discomfort in his eyes and on his face. But he spoke with dignity and captured the hearts of all who listened to him

John Feal, a 9/11 first responder and advocate, said that he gave Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Alvarez’s badge . Feal told CNN . “Luis wanted Mitch McConnell to have his badge. And let me tell you something, for a New York City police officer to give up his badge, that’s like somebody donating an organ, and Luis wanted the Senate majority leader to understand the importance of this and to be reminded that people are sick and dying.”

Feal told reporters the Senate majority leader committed to holding a vote to extend the fund after sitting down with him and other 9/11 first responders on Capitol Hill.

Alvarez was born in Havana, Cuba in October 1965.He was appointed to the NYPD in 1990 and retired as a detective in October 2010.

.   The fact that Luis spoke up for all people who were affected by this terrible tragedy in his condition, motivates me to speak up as well.  But like I have done in the past, I want to fill you in on some important personal facts before going forward.

After finishing my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training at Fort Devens, Mass., in May, 1972,   I had a chance to do some sightseeing in Boston and NY before going back to Minnesota. I was invited to spend Shabbat in Crown Heights, by a Lubavitch couple Rabbi Velvel and Barbie Konikov, of Worchester, Mass, with whom I spent many Shabbats with their lovely family.

Before I flew back to Minnesota, I made it a point to stop by the World Trade Center, on that Friday  before Shabbat. The WTC was under construction at that time, but did not open until 1973. I was there when the outside structure was standing but not yet complete and was able to stand right between the two towers and looked up to see with amazement how high those buildings were. In my wildest dreams I could not image anyone or anything being able to knock those two structures down.

In Crown Heights, I was given a place to sleep and VIP treatment when I arrived at 770. And I mean I was treated like a VIP because that whole Shabbat I was wearing my Army Uniform and was able to get a seat right next to the Rebbe where he was standing. I also sat close to the Rebbe when he was Farbrenging.

Then I flew to Boston, because my Minneapolis flight was scheduled to leave that night from Logan Airport. I wanted to stop by FenwayPark, home of the Red Sox. And was able to get into Fenway Park at a special price for soldiers. I was motivated to see the Red Sox play that day because the Minnesota Twins were in town.

At that time, I was 22,  and that number would come up again when I returned home, because only 5 days later, or May 12, the Twins faced the Milwaukee Brewers in Minnesota. The game continued past the curfew of 1am before the umpires called it and they resumed the next day. The game lasted  22 innings.

Now fast forward to September 11, 2001. I was working in Bank Leumi’s Internaitonal Private Banking Division located on 19 King David Street, Jerusalem. I was within walking distance of the Old City and Kotel or Western Wall. It was late afternoon and I was servicing clients when suddenly I saw a few bank employees gathering around our Reuters ticker machine that kept us updated on World Events because the Internet was is its early stages so that Reuters machine is how we were kept up to the minute.

I recall seeing the following shocking CAPITAL LETTER HEADLINE WHICH READ – PLANE CRASHES INTO WTC TOWER. At that stage, we were all thinking that it must have been some freak accident which has happened before in NYC. But then the next headline read, SECOND PLANE CRASHES INTO SECOND TOWER and by that time we knew this was no accident.

I then had to go back to my desk to attend to my customers and someone came over to me and asked about the meaning of the word –  COLLAPSE (There were mostly Israelis I worked with and their English was very good, but some words were still a bit difficult.) I thought to myself what in the world are they talking about and when I got to the machine again I and all workers watched in stunned silence as the ticker continued tapping out letter by letter what my co-worker had just told me – TOWER ONE COLLAPSES then a few minutes later TOWER TWO COLLAPSES. I could not believe what I was just reading. I had to see it myself but we have never owned a TV since coming to Israel so I packed up my things and made my way up Jaffa Street where many cafes had  the news on,  which displayed what I had just read but not actually saw with my own eyes until then. Over and over again the broadcast showed that second plane crashing into the Tower, and over and over I just thought back to my High School Graduation as the 6-day War began in Israel, and I’m standing on the St. Louis Park High School football field, while now I’m in Israel and the 9/11 attack is taking place in NY. So at those very two moments, I was in the same spots but on opposite sides of the world.

This should be something which is elementary to all loyal Americans, to show respect for those First Responders and all Americans who risk their lives everyday to protect every human being from terrorism and other related attacks.

Omar and her friends who I have referred to as the PLO in Congress, have refused to back down from their hate toward Jews, America and Israel. And in Omar’s case, the charges against her are more than adequate to have her expelled from Congress.

The US Constitution contains guidelines of how Congress should act, and in Article 1 Section 5 the following is written-

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member

And special thanks to a reader, who referred me to an article entitled-

Expulsion of Members of Congress:

Legal Authority and Historical Practice

Cynthia Brown Legislative Attorney          Todd Garvey Legislative Attorney

January 11, 2018

The two most recent expulsions—both Members of the House—concerned a broader range of behavior, beyond disloyalty to the country, for which Congress would expel one of its Members. Those expulsions resulted after the Representatives were convicted of criminal charges under various public corruption statutes.

In 1980, a Member was expelled following a criminal conviction on charges relating to receiving a payment in return for promising to use official influence on legislation. The most recent expulsion occurred in 2002, when the House expelled a Member who had been convicted of various criminal charges relating to his official actions in Congress, including bribery, illegal gratuities, obstruction of justice, defrauding the government, filing false tax returns, and racketeering.


Now how long are we going to have to wait for Omar to be expelled based on the above? I am not prepared to wait any longer as Israel is under constant threat of missile attacks from across the border. There is no excuse to delay taking action, which should have been taken many months ago. According to my research, there are many signs which indicate that the time is right to act, given  that Congress has failed to do so.

Firstly, consider on my previous Blog, the letter to the Editor was written at end-February and I could already smell trouble ahead by what was coming out of Omar’s mouth. But perhaps the most insulting to all the First Responders was when she failed to identify the terrorists who attacked the WTC, instead saying “someone did something”  and then to add insult to injury implied that President Bush said the same thing while standing on top of the rubble during his bullhorn speech., to which I refer in a previous Blog.

These statements along with all her other activities clearly shows she sides with terrorism. She and her fellow PLO members are a danger to the US – its government and its people. But for some reason Congress is not concerned.

My life is at stake and that of my whole family who came together to Israel. I refuse to sit back silently while the PLO remains in Congress. In my opinion, its now up to all decent people to rise up and take action. Not with weapons that cause physical damage, but with good deeds and prayers that will eventually result in good winning over evil.

To justify my feelings, please let me share with you results from some of the research I have done. Lets start with Luis’ birthplace of Havana, Cuba. Three years before Luis was born, there was a dangerous situation known as the Missile Crisis which resulted in Cuba installing Russian made missiles aimed at the US. JFK would have nothing of it, and soon those missiles were dismantled.

The 9/11 Attack featured 4 US “missiles” on a mission to destroy US property and kill as many people as possible. I say missiles, because an airplane is really like a missile with wings. In other words, what took place during 9/11 was Terrorist pilots took over control of all US Aircraft and destroyed US property and lives with those aircraft that were paid for by US companies and US money. The terrorists received their training in the US, and so in reality it cost the terrorists nothing, and the US basically paid with many lives, property damage all at the expense of the US taxpayers who also had to pay the bill to clean up all the damage from the WTC, which was the direct cause of the deaths of all the First Responders, many years after the attack.  It is time for Americans to take action against those people in Congress who do not uphold the Constitution and should be considered enemies of the US.

And to prove my point, Omar is co-sponsoring a bill which in effect says everyone must go to school tuition free and all taxpayers must foot the bill. So that is consistent with the terrorists in 9/11 who wanted the US to foot the bill for its own destruction.

I am writing this from Israel, where missiles are currently pointed straight at me. Israel and the US are strong military powers and should eliminate any threats to its citizens, and yet the PLO in Gaza are allowed to keep their weapons pointed at Israel, so if Israel is not doing anything to destroy those missiles, at least Congress should expel those members who support the PLO in Gaza. There is no justification to delay this process.

Another piece of research I have uncovered is related to the 18 days from the time Luis gave his testimony to the Congressional Sub-Committee to the day he passed away. In Hebrew, 18 or Chai stands for life. It could mean that with his passing, America may be ready to enter a new era where life takes over from any negative force. Take for example another 18 day period, between April 12 and April 30, 1945.

On April 12, 1945, President FDR passed away and the US as well as most of the world was in mourning. Vice President Harry Truman took over as President, during the time of Israel’s establishment as a State.  Three years later,  May 25, 1948, Israeli President Dr. Chaim Weizmann visited the White House and gave President Truman a Torah Scroll. The gift was a symbol of Israel’s gratitude for American recognition of and support for the new nation or like a new form of life.

On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler took his own life the same way he and his followers slaughtered the majority of the Jews, by shooting himself and wife. So we see that though Hitler escaped hanging at Nurenburg, he died the same way he himself killed many Jews. Just like Haman was hung by the very same rope he intended to use on Mordechai. And just like Omar most likely will be defeated or expelled by the very verbal abuse she spat out when she took office.

In between this time period, on April 25, Founding negotiations for the establishment of the United Nations begins in San Francisco. And it was only a few days ago that Rabbi Goldstein from Chabad of Poway stood in front of the UN and made a speech telling the world to unite and fight Anti-Semitism. He also placed a one dollar bill into a charity box located close to where he was speaking.

So Rabbi Goldstein’s message was that we fight hate with love and do mitzvahs and many good deeds. This is what Lori Kaye would have wanted and Lori was a shining example to all of us. Therefore we must unite together and do mitzvahs  and good deeds to eliminate the hate that exists in the world today.,

Since Congress has not acted, I have an idea which I will share with you on my next blog to be published on July 4, to help us all do good deeds and work together to fight HATE.






About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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