When little Arielle Pozner, twin sister of six year-old Noah, who was murdered Friday along with nineteen classmates at his school in Newtown, Connecticut, met President Obama on Sunday she handed him a picture that she drew: it was of her mother smiling.
“Obama was very kind. He thanked her and put the picture in his pocket,” Rabbi Sholom Deitsch of the Chabad of Ridgefield, Connecticut told The Algemeiner.
“The President coming to share in their sorrow and share in their grief was really important to the family,” Rabbi Deitsch said.
Rabbi Deitsch has been meeting with the Pozner family since Friday, when news broke of the massacre. Very little smiling has taken place since then however, as the family–and community–has come together to support one another.
“He (Lenny, the father) looks like he is dealing with it inside. On a day-to-day basis he has his ups and downs. The mother is more emotionally outgoing. They’re a very loving family. The grandparents are there, the siblings are there, the uncles are there; relative to the situation they’re holding together pretty strong,” Rabbi Deitsch said of Noah’s family.
On Monday Noah was the first of the victims to be buried. Many in the Jewish community turned out.
“There was a wide range of representatives from the Jewish community there. You had Reform rabbis, Orthodox rabbis, Chabad rabbis. It was heartwarming to see that people care. This was obviously a personal tragedy, but also a tragedy in general, and it was nice to see people come out from the Jewish community.”
“It was heavy, it was emotional, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Rabbi Deitsch continued, speaking of the atmosphere of the funeral, which took place at a funeral home in Fairfield.
Noah’s mother, Veronique, spoke briefly, saying, “You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are, all of us, elevated in our humanity by having known you.”
“She spoke beautifully, she was strong, and it was pretty amazing to watch her make it through the sentences that she said,” Rabbi Deitsch said.
Rabbi Deitsch plans on spending plenty of time with the family in the coming week as they sit Shiva and welcome the community into their home to mourn the loss of Noah.
“I want to just be there on a personal level, not just to be there to answer their questions, but to be there as a friend, as a person, as a human being. That’s what’s needed the most right now–to feel that they’re not alone.”
After that, there’s the serious matter of healing the community as a whole, which will be as daunting, and possibly as insurmountable a task as it will be for the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy. It’s not something Rabbi Deitsch takes lightly, or ignores. “We have to do more, we have to add more, we have to do more to educate our children. We have to enhance our lives. We’re getting calls from people. People want to do, and as long as it’s being channeled to bring light into this world, and especially into this community, the quicker, the faster, the healthier they’ll be able to heal.”